Types of Sage Plant for Your Garden: Different Varieties

Types of Sage Plant
13 min reading time

If you’re looking for a versatile and aromatic herb to add to your garden, consider growing sage. Sage plants come in many different varieties, from culinary sage varieties to medicinal sage plants and ornamental sage species. With so many different types of sage plant to choose from, you’re sure to find a plant that suits your gardening goals and needs.

Culinary Sage Varieties

If you’re a foodie, growing your own culinary sage is a must. Not only is it a flavorful addition to many dishes, but it’s also a beautiful and aromatic plant that can enhance any garden. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of sage plants that are perfect for cooking.

Culinary Sage Varieties

Sage PlantFlavor and AromaBest For
Common SageEarthy, peppery, slightly bitterMeats, stuffing, bread
Pineapple SageFruity, sweet, pineapple-likeDesserts, drinks, salads
Garden SageEarthy, slightly minty, savoryMeats, poultry, vegetables

Common Sage is the most well-known and commonly used culinary sage variety. Its flavor is earthy, peppery, and slightly bitter, and it pairs well with meats, stuffing, and bread. Pineapple sage has a fruity, sweet, and pineapple-like flavor and aroma, making it an excellent addition to desserts, drinks, and salads. Garden sage has an earthy, slightly minty, and savory taste, and it’s perfect for seasoning meats, poultry, and vegetables.

When cooking with sage, it’s best to use fresh leaves instead of dried ones. To harvest sage, simply pick the leaves off the plant and rinse them under cold water. Sage leaves can be used whole or chopped, and they can be added to dishes during cooking or used as a garnish.

Now that you know about the different types of sage for cooking, you can start incorporating this flavorful herb into your culinary creations.

Medicinal Sage Plants

Sage is a perennial herb that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Its scientific name, Salvia officinalis, comes from the Latin word “salvare,” which means “to heal.”

Medicinal sage plants contain compounds that offer numerous health benefits. Some of these benefits include anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties. Sage leaves have also been shown to have a positive effect on brain function and memory.

Common Medicinal Sage Varieties

Dalmatian SageAntimicrobial and antiviral properties
Pineapple SageAntioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
White SageAntibacterial and antifungal properties, commonly used for smudging

Dalmatian sage is a common medicinal sage variety that is known for its antimicrobial and antiviral properties. It is often used to treat respiratory infections and digestive issues.

Pineapple sage is another popular variety that offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is often used to promote digestive health and reduce inflammation in the body.

White sage is a sacred herb in Native American cultures and is commonly used in smudging rituals. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is often used to treat respiratory issues and skin conditions.

Growing and Harvesting Medicinal Sage Plants

To grow medicinal sage plants, it’s important to choose a sunny location with well-drained soil. Sage plants also prefer a pH level of around 6.5.

When harvesting sage leaves for medicinal purposes, it’s best to do so when the plant is in full bloom. You can either dry the leaves by hanging them upside down in a cool, dry place or freeze them for later use.

Medicinal sage plants are a valuable addition to any garden, offering numerous health benefits in addition to their aesthetic appeal. Consider adding some of these common medicinal sage varieties to your garden today.

Ornamental Sage Species

Sage plants are more than just a flavorful herb used in cooking. They also come in a variety of ornamental species that can add unique color and texture to your garden. Here are some of the most popular ornamental sage species to consider:

Sage SpeciesDescription
Purple Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’)This sage species has beautiful purple foliage that provides a striking contrast to other plants in your garden. It also produces edible purple-blue flowers that attract pollinators.
Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)This sage species is popular for its fruity pineapple scent and bright red tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Its leaves can also be used to add flavor to beverages and desserts.
Variegated Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’)This sage species has beautiful green and yellow variegated leaves that add visual interest to your garden. It also produces edible purple flowers and is a popular choice for container planting.
Golden Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Aurea’)This sage species has bright golden-yellow foliage that can brighten up any garden. It produces blue-purple flowers in the summer and is a popular choice for herb gardens and borders.

These are just a few of the many ornamental sage species available. Whether you’re looking for a pop of color or unique foliage, there’s sure to be a sage species that suits your needs.

Common Types of Sage Plant

Common sage, also known as salvia officinalis, is a popular and versatile plant that belongs to the mint family. This herb is native to the Mediterranean region and is widely used in cooking and traditional medicine.

There are several common sage types to consider for your garden:

Golden Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’)A cultivar of common sage with yellow-green variegated leaves that bring a pop of color to the garden.
Purple Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’)A type of common sage with striking purple leaves and a milder flavor compared to traditional sage.
Tricolor Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’)This cultivar of common sage has green, white, and purple leaves, making it a beautiful addition to any garden or as a garnish in culinary dishes.
Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Ruboff’)The most common type of common sage, with gray-green leaves and a strong flavor that is perfect for cooking.

Whichever common sage type you choose, be sure to plant it in well-draining soil in a sunny location. Common sage can grow to be 2-3 feet tall and wide, so leave enough space between plants to allow for proper growth. These plants also attract bees and butterflies, making them an excellent addition to any pollinator garden.

Sage Plant Variations

Sage plants come in an array of variations, making them a popular choice for gardeners looking to add diversity and interest to their herb garden. Here are some of the most common sage plant variations to consider:

Purple SageThis sage plant variation boasts beautiful purple leaves, making it a stunning addition to any herb garden. It has a strong, earthy flavor and is commonly used for cooking and garnishing dishes.
Tricolor SageAs the name suggests, this sage plant variation features leaves in three different colors: green, purple, and white. The tricolor sage has a mild flavor and is excellent for garnishing salads and pasta dishes.
Pineapple SageThis sage plant variation has a distinctive pineapple aroma and flavor, making it a popular choice for adding to drinks and desserts. It has bright red flowers that bloom in the fall.
Giant SageAs the name suggests, this sage plant variation is larger than most other types of sage, growing up to 6 feet tall. It has a strong flavor and is commonly used for cooking stews, soups, and roasts.

In addition to these variations, there are also sage plants with unique characteristics such as fuzzy leaves or variegated foliage. When selecting a sage plant variation, consider its growth habit, flavor, and appearance to find the perfect fit for your garden.

Types of Sage for Smudging

If you’re interested in incorporating sage into your spiritual or cleansing practices, it’s essential to know which types of sage plants are best for smudging. Not all sage plants are created equal, and some have more potent properties than others.

White Sage

White sage, also known as Salvia apiana, is probably the most common type of sage used for smudging. It’s native to California and is known for its strong, distinct aroma that is said to have purifying properties. White sage is often used in Native American smudging rituals to cleanse spaces and promote healing.

Desert Sage

Desert sage, or Salvia dorrii, is also commonly used in smudging rituals, particularly in Native American traditions. It’s native to the deserts of the Southwest United States and is known for its uplifting, energizing properties. Desert sage is believed to promote mental clarity and enhance intuition.

Blue Sage

Blue sage, or Salvia azurea, is a type of sage plant that is native to the central and eastern United States. It’s often used for smudging, and its smoke is believed to have a calming effect that can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Blue sage is also known for its sweet, floral fragrance.

Black Sage

Black sage, or Salvia mellifera, is a native California plant that is often used for smudging. Its scent is believed to have cleansing properties that can help clear negativity and promote positive energy. Black sage is also known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a popular choice for medicinal purposes.

Common Sage

While not typically used for smudging, common sage, or Salvia officinalis, is a popular culinary sage that can also have medicinal benefits. Its leaves have a warm, earthy flavor and are often used in cooking to season meats and vegetables. Common sage is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Before using any type of sage plant for smudging, it’s important to do your research and ensure that you are using it safely and ethically. Some species of sage are endangered or over-harvested, so it’s essential to purchase from reputable sources and avoid contributing to the destruction of natural habitats.

Selecting the Right Sage for Your Garden

With so many sage plant variations available, it’s essential to choose the right one for your garden. Consider the following tips to make the best decision:

  • Intended Use: Think about how you plan to use the sage plant in your garden. If you’re looking for a culinary sage variety, consider the flavor and aroma profiles. Ornamental sage species offer a range of colors and textures to enhance your garden’s visual appeal. Medicinal sage plants have specific properties that can provide health benefits.
  • Growth Habits: Sage plants grow in different sizes and shapes. Some are compact and bushy, while others have a sprawling growth habit. Consider the space you have available and how the plant will fit into your garden design.
  • Climate: Different sage plant variations thrive in different climates. Research the specific needs of the sage plant you’re considering to ensure it can survive and thrive in your climate zone.
  • Soil Type: Sage plants prefer well-draining soil with a neutral pH. Consider the soil type in your garden and choose a sage plant that can tolerate the conditions.
  • Care Needs: Different sage plant variations require different levels of care. Consider how much time and effort you’re willing to invest in maintaining the plant.

By considering these factors, you can select the right sage plant variation that will flourish in your garden and provide the specific benefits you’re looking for.

Growing and Caring for Sage Plants

Types of Sage Plant

Once you’ve chosen the perfect types of sage plant for your garden, it’s essential to learn how to grow and care for them properly. Sage plants are generally low-maintenance, making them an ideal addition to any garden.

Planting Sage

Sage plants prefer well-drained soil and full sun exposure. It’s best to plant sage in the spring, after the last frost date in your area. To plant sage, dig a hole slightly larger than the plant’s root ball and backfill with soil. Space the plants about 18-24 inches apart to allow for proper air circulation.

Watering Sage

While sage plants are drought-tolerant, it’s important to water them regularly during their first growing season to encourage root development. After establishment, sage plants only need occasional watering, especially during dry spells.

Pruning Sage

Culinary sage varieties benefit from regular pruning to encourage new growth and prevent legginess. Prune the plants by cutting the stems back by a third in early spring. For ornamental sage species, prune after the plant has finished blooming to maintain its shape and encourage new growth.

Harvesting Sage

Culinary sage varieties can be harvested regularly for use in cooking. Harvest the leaves in the morning after the dew has dried for the best flavor. For medicinal purposes, harvest sage just before it begins to flower for maximum potency.

Pests and Diseases

Sage plants are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, they can be susceptible to root rot if the soil is too wet. Prevent this by ensuring proper drainage and avoiding overwatering.

With these tips, you can grow and care for culinary sage varieties, ornamental sage species, and medicinal sage plants with ease. Adding these versatile plants to your garden will not only enhance its beauty but also provide you with an abundant supply of flavor, aroma, and health benefits.


Congratulations! You are now equipped with the knowledge of the different types of sage plants that can enhance your garden. With culinary sage varieties, medicinal sage plants, ornamental sage species, and more, you have plenty of options to choose from.

Remember to consider your specific needs and preferences when selecting the right sage variant for your garden. Whether you want to add flavor to your culinary creations or create a stunning landscape design, there is a sage plant for you.

Once you have chosen your types of sage plants, be sure to follow best practices for planting, watering, and maintaining them. With proper care, your sage plants will thrive and bring their aromatic and versatile beauty to your garden for years to come.


What are the different types of sage plants for my garden?

There are various types of sage plants that you can consider for your garden, including culinary sage varieties, medicinal sage plants, ornamental sage species, and more.

Are there specific types of sage plants that are suitable for cooking?

Yes, there are culinary sage varieties that are perfect for cooking. These sage plants offer a variety of flavors and aromas, enhancing the taste of your culinary creations.

Can sage plants be used for medicinal purposes?

Absolutely! Sage has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. There are different types of sage plants known for their healing benefits, which can contribute to your overall health.

Are there ornamental sage species for adding beauty to my garden?

Yes, sage plants are not just functional but also beautiful. There is a diverse range of ornamental sage species that can add color and texture to your garden, enhancing its overall aesthetic appeal.

What are the common types of sage plants?

The most popular type of sage plant is common sage, also known as salvia officinalis. There are different varieties and cultivars that fall under this common sage category.

What are some unique sage plant variations?

Sage plants come in various variations, including different leaf colors and growth habits. These unique characteristics can add visual interest to your garden design.

Which sage plants are commonly used for smudging?

Smudging, a practice rooted in Native American traditions, involves the burning of dried sage bundles for cleansing purposes. There are specific types of sage plants commonly used for smudging rituals.

How do I select the right sage plant for my garden?

Selecting the right sage plant for your garden depends on your specific needs and preferences. We provide tips and considerations to help you make an informed decision based on your gardening goals.

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