How to Grow Your Own White Sage

White sage is a perennial, with plants living well past two years if properly cared for. This article will be a walk through as to growing this precious herb and how you can have your own on hand.

Starting Your White Sage Plants

White Sage Seedling

White Sage Seedling

White sage seeds themselves are edible, and can be found in pods on a sage plant. They have a very low germination rate, so it is important to start a white sage plant indoors and keep the seeds close to the surface (no deeper than an eighth to a quarter of an inch) and place in an area where there is a lot of light. You will want your plant to get at least eight hours of direct sunlight. Florescent lights can be used, although sunlight is preferred.

White Sage Soil Needs

The soil should be of a dry, sandy texture that drains water easily (cactus potting soil is a good choice) and put in a container with holes in the bottom. Since sage plants don’t do well in cold temperatures, they should either be replanted to grow indoors in a pot or covered during the winter months. Ideally, they should not be exposed to temperatures less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

White Sage

White Sage

Initially in caring for your sage plant, it is important to make sure once the seedlings sprout to four inches that the plants are kept at least two feet apart to avoid overlapping. If you plan on transferring your plants outdoors, be sure to wait until all chances for frost have passed… and continue using dry, sandy soil that will easily drain water.

Watering White Sage

Watering is done a bit more often in the early stages of growth, without overdoing it. When the very top soil feels dry upon touch, water until it starts running through the drainage holes and the soil is completely dampened. Once the sage is growing well, it is only necessary to water when the top soil has completely dried.

White Sage and Sunlight Needs

Make sure the plant is exposed to the maximum amount of sunlight possible. While sunlight is essential for sage to grow well, keep a close watch over the plants for extreme heat or wind damage.

White Sage and Fertilizer

During the spring and summer months of growing white sage outdoors, it is good to use a regular liquid fertilizer. Mix equal amounts of water and fertilizer, and treat the plants monthly as the package directs.

White Sage in the Garden

White Sage Growing in the Garden

The white sage plant can grow up to five feet tall, and has stems (often called “sage wands”) that can grow up to six feet. The leaves flower along the stems and have a white tinge to them that comes from the fine hairs that grow on the leaves themselves. Flowers from the sage plant are generally white or a light lavender in color.

Harvesting Your White Sage

In harvesting the sage leaves, it is important to remember that if you snip in the lower part of the stem, no more leaves will grow… so cut the stem close to the top to get the maximum growth from your sage plant.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2010

Also see – Preparing White Sage For Smudging


  1. John
    Oct 23, 2012

    I have a white sage plant growing in a large pot indoors for now. I live at 7000 ft so have to keep it inside during winter months. I notice the leaves are beginning to curl a bit…not enough sun?? Any ideas?? I water as you suggest but don’t want to lose this plant. I planted it from seed early this year and is now about 30 inches tall. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!!

  2. Nicole
    Nov 16, 2012

    Add some shavings of peels from lemon, oranges, limes, or grapefruit and get that baby some more sun at a window facing the East if possible 🙂 You’ll get longer periods of sun from the East. If not, invest in a light for plants and herbs.

    Hope this helps!


  3. Beth
    Sep 2, 2013

    I have a white sage that is now ten years old. I planted it in full sun (dawn to dusk) in the median strip on the other side of my sidewalk, which I NEVER water and NEVER fertilize. The last few years, it has grown to six or more feet tall. With the “shoots” that go up in July and August, the sage is nine feet tall. It smells so wonderful, very strong herbal scent, and I make “smudges” for use outdoors to keep away the mosquitos. Once it was established, I never did anything at all to this plant. I am convinced that its thriving is due to almost continuous, full sunlight. I also have two lemon verbenas that are, respectively, 15 and 25 years old. I water them perhaps twice in the summer months, then trim them all the way back to bare limbs before the winter chill. Come April, they sprout again and send out shoots in every possible directions. They are six feet tall! And, as the white sage, these lemon verbena receive full sun (from east to west) from sunrise to sunset. Remember to plant your herbs in a sunny, hot location, and they will thrive. I would never even think of starting a white sage plant indoors. Beth

  4. Me
    Nov 22, 2013

    Smudging sage only will grow in proper areas. Never had seen it except in certain areas in California. It is indeed a stubborn plant to grow in itself…. find a plant… respect it and should only be snipped a few stems during morning hours all during the while of asking and intuvititly asking for it and “hearing” an acceptance in return.
    If you get greedy with it… your clippings will likely turn to mold etc… and/or will not have the healing potential properties to hand over that it is known for.

    I straight up am baffled seeing a small amount sold for about 10 bucks in stores today…. and read the energy off of them… really no love or care. It’ll take you about 25 times more energy out of yourself to invoke loving energies into the sage you might have bought….. vs had it been picked correctly out in the wild where it grows naturally and to pick naturally.

    Ps… not every plant just because it grows is meant to be “used”. Not every fruit on a tree known as food is meant to be eaten. Ask the plant/fruit off of the tree… use your gut to hear it’s response.

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