Common sage is seemed in historical lore and culinary uses. Think of the term “sage advice”. In old times it was associated with old age and preventing memory loss. In the Middle Ages it was used as a cure-all for most ailments. It is still used today in some herbal circles.
Sage (Salvia) is the largest genus in the mint family, with over 900 species worldwide. Salvia officinalis varieties are herbaceous evergreens and usually have mauve-blue to lilac-purple flowers midsummer. Sage’s colorful leaves and small shrub form add depth and texture to any herb garden, container planting, or flower bed.
The rich, large purple summer flowers attract birds, bees, and butterflies. The aromatic compounds of the leaves are highly valued in cooking (dried or fresh leaves). A classic use is in Thanksgiving stuffing. A newer recipe might include frying fresh leaves in butter creating a gourmet garnish.
*Common sage should not be ingested in large amounts for a prolonged period of time, due to the fact it contains small amounts of the neurotoxin thujone.
Pineapple sage is more delicate in growth and flavor. It produces brilliant red blooms in late summer to frost. It is much faster growing than common sage reaching 3-4’ in a single season. It is tender in the Portland area, hardy to zone 8. Fresh leaves are edible and delightful in salads, or dried for a floral tasting tea. As the common name suggests the flavor is reminiscent of pineapple.
Melon scented leaves and red flowers late summer to frost. Tender perennial, bring inside for winter. Growing 24-36” tall and wide
Pineapple scented, pubescent leaves, red blooms on spike, known to attract butterflies. Tender perennial, bring inside for winter. Grows 24-36” tall and wide
Highly aromatic, lilac colored blooms. Extra large leaves. Grows 20-30” tall and wide
Green and gold variegated leaves, mauve-blue blooms in spring. Grows 12-18” tall and wide. A.K.A Golden Sage. Tolerates part shade. Grows 12-18” tall and wide
Curly, ruffled, grey-green leaves. Grows 12-16” tall and wide.
Low growing, bright blue blooms, small leaves, good for borders, hedges, containers or rock gardens, compact and bushy habit. Grows 12-18” tall and wide
Blooms for 3-4 weeks in early spring, stunning habit with bloom shoots 3' in the air, great in bouquets.
Citrus scented, green leaves, rose - violet blooms in early spring-mid summer. Birds, bees, and butterflies highly attracted to this variety. Grows 24-34” tall and wide
Vigorus growth habit, larger sage plant that produces very flavorful leaves, great for cooking. Grows 24-36” tall and wide
Attractive purple foliage, lilac blue flowers. Grows 12-18” tall and wide
Striking multicolored foliage, great winter color, rarely flowers. A bit more tender than other varieties. Grows 15-18” tall and wide
Unusual tubular pink-rose bloom on spike, soft savory leaves. Grows 18-24” tall and wide
Requires sun, silver-green leaves edged in white, rose-purple blooms on spires in summer. Grows 24-30” tall and wide.