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Culinary Sage

Culinary Sage

Flowers by the Sea cultivates many fragrant, flavorful culinary sages -- also referred to as "kitchen sages" -- that are easy to grow and tolerate drought. These attractive sages are found in many parts of the world, including Africa, Central and South America, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and South Africa.

For robust flavor and fragrance, there's nothing quite like culinary sage fresh you’re your own garden. The two species most familiar to Western cooks are the Mediterranean herbs Common or Culinary Sage (Salvia officinalis) and Greek Sage (S. fruticosa).

Although most often used as a rub on poultry, meats and fish, culinary sages are also tasty in breads, omelettes, sauces such as pesto, soups, stews and vegetarian main dishes. Some taste and smell fruity. In these days of fashionable fusion cuisine, you can even find these herbs in ice cream.

Edible Salvias have a long history of medicinal use, such as in teas. The genus name Salvia comes from the Latin verb salvare, which means to save. It is related to Salus, the Roman goddess of well-being who was an adaptation of the Greek goddess of health, Hygeia. Ancient healers in both Greece and Rome used edible Mediterranean Salvias as folk remedies. Over time, these sages also became favorite seasonings.

It isn't necessary to limit culinary sages to kitchen gardens. They perfume the landscape, add interest to sunny borders and offer many kinds of handsome foliage, including ones with pebbly textures. Due to this appeal to the eye and the senses of smell and touch, culinary sages are ideal additions to therapy gardens.


  • Salvia 'Silver Sabre'

    (Silver Sabre Sage) Hanging-basket gardeners, here's one for you! The pink, green and cream variegated foliage is so ornamental trailing over pots that you might forget its role as a fragrant cooking herb.


  • Salvia dorisiana

    (Fruit Scented Sage)  This plant has it all -- big, light-green leaves that are fuzzy soft and large magenta-pink flowers that smell intoxicating and bloom from winter into spring. Fruit Scented Sage is one of the strongest and most deliciously scented plants we have encountered.


  • Salvia elegans

    (Pineapple Sage) An indispensable fall-blooming addition to the garden, this tender perennial is, perhaps, the best of all hummingbird plants. When in bloom, it is covered in 3-inch-long red flowers.


  • Salvia elegans 'Freida Dixon'

    (Frieda Dixon Pineapple Sage) Most varieties of Salvia elegans have bright red flowers. But Frieda Dixon Pineapple Sage, which blooms abundantly beginning in late fall, has softer salmon-pink blossoms set against mid-green, lance-shaped leaves.


  • Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious'

    (Golden Pineapple Sage) The bright crimson flowers of this extremely fragrant sage are attractive to both humans and pollinators. However, it is the glowing golden foliage that most distinguishes this cultivar from other varieties of Pineapple Sage.

  • Salvia elegans 'Honey Melon'

    (Honey Melon Pineapple Sage) This is a short Pineapple Sage that is long blooming. It is the earliest and longest flowering of all the many varieties of Salvia elegans. We recommend it for indoor herb gardening as well as for outdoor borders and groundcovers.


  • Salvia elegans 'Tangerine'

    (Tangerine Pineapple Sage) This citrus-scented cultivar is our smallest variety of Pineapple Sage. Worth growing just for the exotic scent of its leaves, this culinary sage is also one of the longest blooming plants in its species.


  • Salvia fruticosa

    (Greek Sage) Most of the dried culinary sage sold in the United States is Greek Sage. Frescoes on the island of Crete dated to 1400 BC depict this plant, which was used by the Phoenicians and Greeks for cooking and medicine. It is an ancient and beloved friend of mankind.

  • Salvia hierosolymitana

    (Jerusalem Sage) This lovely herbaceous perennial is native to Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. Its clear pink flowers change at times to a pink highlighted with violet lines and dots. Prominent glandular hairs on the buds, bracts and floral stems exude a fragrance that is delightful on a warm day.


  • Salvia lanceolata

    (Rusty Sage)  Named for its leaves shaped like the tips of lances, this nearly care-free, evergreen sage from South Africa has enchanting rusty rose flowers that bloom from fall (spring in its native land) into winter.

  • Salvia officinalis 'Berggarten'

    (Mountain Culinary Sage) Elliptical, silvery green leaves covered with downy hairs make this one of the prettiest types of Salvia officinalis. Berggarten is a German variety widely grown for its culinary value and attractive, tightly mounded form.

  • Salvia officinalis 'Extrakta'

    (Potent Culinary Sage) Flavorful and fragrant, Extrakta is a modern European Culinary Sage known for its pungent essential oil. About a foot taller than most species of Salvia officinalis, it has long, narrow, spear-shaped leaves that are deep green.

  • Salvia officinalis 'Golden Elk'

    (Golden Elk Culinary Sage) Golden Elk is our most unusual variegated sage. It is a handsome, mild, culinary variety that grows well in containers in partial shade. However, the more light it receives, the deeper the contrast between its deep green, golden green and cream variegations, which are irregular and only semi-stable.  We have grown this variety - a sport of Icterina - for years now and think very highly of its unusual &  beautiful foliege.


  • Salvia officinalis 'Icterina'

    (Variegated Golden Sage) Icterina is our favorite variegated sage. It is a handsome, mild, culinary variety that grows well in containers in partial shade. However, the more light it receives, the deeper the contrast between its deep green, golden green and cream variegations.

  • Salvia officinalis 'Purpurea'

    (Purple Leaf Sage) Dusky purple leaves make this sage stand out in the garden and kitchen. It is known botanically both as Salvia officinalis 'Purpurea' and Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens'.

  • Salvia sclarea 'Alba'

    (White Clary Sage) A froth of white blossoms floats over the fuzzy basal foliage of Salvia sclarea 'Alba'. Butterflies enjoy the nectar of this Mediterranean native that tolerates both heat and extreme cold.


  • Salvia sclarea 'Wild Form'

    (Clary or Clear Eye Sage or Eyebright) Pink-purple bracts and violet-purple flowers form a pastel cloud over the large, rumpled leaves of Clary Sage in summer. It is a towering beauty growing up to 5 feet tall. Sacred to some due to age-old use in herbal remedies, it is heavenly to look at.


  • Salvia sclarea var turkestanica 'Piemont'

    (Italian Clary Sage) Clary Sages are well known for their use in folk remedies, aromatherapy and cosmetics. Glowing purple bracts frame the spectacular white blooms of this cultivar on 5-foot-tall spikes. It is a delight for honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies.


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I love this Salvia. I have only had it in the ground for a month, but to my surprise (because its described as a late summer bloomer) it was the first of my several Salvia species to flower already. It has sent up about 3 spikes of vibrant red. ...
May 21, 2015