Propagating Sage From Seed and Cuttings — All You Need to Know!

Sage is present in almost every herb garden around the globe. The aroma and benefits of this plant make it one of the most popular herbs in the world.

People usually don’t have problems growing this herb. Sage is such a vigorous plant that it doesn’t need special treatment.

When propagating sage, gardeners have two options. They can grow the plant from seed or use stem cuttings of an existing sage plant instead.

In general, neither way is challenging and won’t require much effort on your part. As I always say, you should know the rules if you’re going to play the game.

So, in this article, I will discuss how to propagate sage from seed and cuttings. Then I’ll leave you to choose which method suits you best.

Propagating Sage from Seed

Propagating seeds is vastly different from caring for an adult plant. There are several vital steps in this activity that need your focus.

Obtaining the Seeds:

It’s essential to purchase the best seeds available on the market. Otherwise, you’d be losing time trying to grow seeds that could not germinate in the first place.

I get my premium sage seeds from Amazon, and they germinate beautifully. You can find the ones I use here:

Sow Right Seeds – Sage Seeds

Cold Stratification:

Some seeds need a period of cold weather to germinate. Stratification is a way to stimulate winter for those types of seeds.

If you store your sage seeds at a low temperature for a few weeks before you sow them, they will germinate far better.

So, let’s stratify your seeds! You’ll need a Ziploc® bag and some sterilized sand. (You can sterilize sand by baking it in an oven at 300°F [150°C].)

Fill the bag with some of the sand, add the seeds, and shake gently. Store the seeds in the fridge at a temperature of 40°F (4.5°C) for a few weeks.

Preparing the Medium:

Sage seeds are prone to damping off, a disease that kills or prevents seeds from germinating.

Some species of microorganisms, usually found in some soils, cause damping off.

Instead, it would help if you used a seed-starting mix. It is devoid of pathogens that can harm your seed.

Many high-quality seed-starting mixes are available on the market today. These mixes can ensure your seeds will grow strong and healthy.

After you have the seed-starting material, moisten it. Then have some trays or pots, and fill them with the mix up to a few millimeters below the rim.

Sowing the Seeds:

Sow three to four seeds on top of each container. In the worst-case scenario, you will get at least one seedling from each pot. Afterward, cover the containers with plastic wrap to keep everything inside well moistened.

Uncover the containers for a few hours every day to allow the seeds to breathe. Before you cover them again, make sure that the mix didn’t lose a lot of moisture.

Seeds Growing Conditions:

Light

Some gardeners claim common sage, or Salvia officinalis, needs light to germinate. In reality, experiments show that the opposite is true. You could reduce your common sage seeds’ germination rate due to light exposure.

Conversely, meadow sage, or Salvia pratensis, needs light to germinate. This behavior is contrary to many other types of sage.

Temperature

The best temperature for sage germination is 60°F (about 15°C).

The sage germination rate can reach 90% at this temperature, which is just beyond excellent!

Nonetheless, a temperature in the range of 50°F (10°C) to 70°F (21°C) is always favorable for the seeds.

Looking After Seedlings:

After 15 to 20 days, your sage seeds will start to sprout, and seedlings will emerge.

Right now, you need to start taking new steps to ensure the proper growth of your young seedlings.

propagating sage from seed

After the first seedling appears, you’ll need to wait a few days until all the other sprouting seeds have grown their seedlings too.

Remove the plastic wrap. Your plants need to constantly breathe now to begin growing.

In general, seedlings need the most significant amounts of light. At this point, I suggest you get a full spectrum LED to aid their growth.

A sunny location in your house might work, but it’s always preferable to take no chances. Otherwise, your plants could grow weak, elongated, and susceptible.

You need balance when you water your sage seedlings. Too much water could immediately kill them. Wait until the soil appears to be dry before you water them. 

When the seedlings start to develop their second set of leaves, it’s time to move them to a wider container.

Choose a high-quality, well-drained soil to fill the new pots. Then, transfer the seedlings. You must be gentle; hold them by their leaves.

Congratulations! Now you have your sage plants ready to grow. Starting from seedlings, sage needs almost two years of growth to reach full maturity.

Propagating Sage from Cuttings

Growing sage from stem cuttings is highly reliable if you already have a plant.

Taking the Cuttings: 

You can take cuttings from your sage plant whenever you want, as long as you’re not trimming it too much. Taking them in the morning is always preferable, so they don’t wilt quickly.

The stem you take should be around 4″–5″ (10–13 cm) long. This is a healthy length for rooting.

Make sure the stem cutting is tender and green, especially at the top. That means it’s able to produce new growth.

Propagating sage from cuttings

Remember to use sharp pruning shears so you don’t create unwanted tears in the plant.

Take the cutting just below a leaf node. That’s where you can find the growth buds that can reveal new roots.

Preparing the Cuttings:

Remove the leaves at the bottom, and leave the first set or two sets of leaves growing at the top.

Dip the bottom of the stem in a rooting hormone. This step is critical since sage doesn’t root all that well without a hormone.

You can find the highest quality rooting hormone, which I always use, here on Amazon:

Clonex Rooting Gel

Immersing the Cuttings:

We will need small pots or trays for this activity. Also, we need fast-draining light soil. It will encourage the roots to spread through the medium easily if it’s a suitable soil.

After you fill the containers, make a hole in the soil. Immerse the stem and gently press the soil around the cutting.

Caring for Cuttings:

Sage cuttings need a very humid environment to grow some roots. So, moisten the soil (moderately). Lastly, you need to cover the containers with a transparent plastic bag.

Keep the containers in a warm area away from direct sunlight but not necessarily in darkness.

Sage

This part depends on the conditions and your luck. Full rooting of sage cuttings will take several weeks to a couple of months. It’s preferable to wait for a month or two before you transplant the plants. The only exception is if they appear to be actively growing.

That’s it! Now you know how to propagate sage. Enjoy it, and don’t forget to share your questions and thoughts in the comments below!

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