Sage is a unique herb that is often mistaken for mint. Part of the mint family, Lamiaceae, sage is recognized for its distinctive mild minty aroma and silky leaves.
Though associated with the common sage plant, there are actually over 900 species that exist. With so many different sage species, each with unique features, it can be difficult to distinguish different types of sage plants.
Whether you’re looking for the sage to add to your garden, or you’re looking for the sage to use for culinary and medicinal purposes, there are plenty of varieties out there. To help you familiarize yourself with the different types of sage out there, we’ll share the most popular and unique types of sage plants.
Common sage, also known as garden sage, is the most common sage variety. Common sage is scientifically known as Salvia officinalis. Common sage is characterized as a perennial plant that continues to grow each year. This evergreen perennial plant is commonly used for culinary purposes as a result of its unique aroma.
A common sage plant features soft gray-green leaves that emit a strong distinctive scent and a pungent flavor. Common sage is a part of the mint family hence its familiar minty flavor and scent. This sage variety is native to Mediterranean regions but is commonly used worldwide.
This sage plant grows well in well-drained soil in an environment where it can get plenty of sunlight. When grown in the right conditions, common sage can grow up to 2.5 ft tall.
Purple sage, scientifically known as Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurea,’ is a popular sage variety that is commonly used for culinary purposes. It is often used in meat recipes for making pork, chicken dishes, soups, and stews. Purple sage is well known for its unique and distinctive savory flavor and refreshing scent.
It is said to taste similar to common sage and rosemary but with a hint of citrus flavors that makes for a more savory taste. Purple sage is an aromatic plant that consists of thick and soft smoky purple leaves and a purple stem. Purple sage is a sage variety that is available all year round. Purple sage is also commonly used for medicinal purposes as a result its leaves contain oil that holds natural healing properties.
Blue Anise Sage
Blue Anise sage is a unique sage variety that is commonly used as an ornamental plant for adding a pop of rich color to gardens. Blue Anise sage, scientifically known as Salvia guaranitica is a sage plant that is well known for its intense blue and purple flowers. Commonly used as an ornamental plant, Blue Anise sage is a great plant for filling out a garden as it is dense.
Blue Anise Sage offers a rich and spicy anise scent with a hint of mintiness. Its flowers are known to attract pollinators during the summer months. Blue Anise sage is native to Brazil and northern Argentina. This perennial plant grows well in warmer climates.
Autumn sage is a beautiful sage plant that is commonly used as an ornamental plant. Autumn sage is a perennial plant that offers stunning delicate flowers that can be found to come in a range of colors. Autumn sage is a popular choice as a versatile plant as it blooms for a long period of time.
Autumn sage is scientifically known as Salvia greggii. The plant comes into full bloom during the fall season. The flowers of the plant emit a strong and minty aroma. Autumn sage is native to Mexico and Texas. It’s considered a great plant for attracting pollinators for creating a lively garden. This plant is known to grow dense and thick and grow up to 3 ft tall.
Grape-scented sage is a unique sage plant that offers a sweet grape aroma that is great for attracting pollinators and hummingbirds. Grape-scented sage, scientifically known as Salvia melissodora, is a thick sage plant that features fragrant foliage that resembles common sage leaves. It also features soft purple and white flowers that make this a great ornamental plant.
Due to its unique aroma, Grape-scented sage is commonly used for culinary purposes and for making tea. This sage plant grows well in humid climates and can grow up to 4 ft tall. This sage plant can be recognized by its dense and bush-like appearance. It is also known to spread quickly if it isn’t effectively contained.
Hummingbird sage is a unique sage plant variety. Scientifically known as Salvia spathacea, Hummingbird sage is commonly used as an ornamental plant due to its unique appearance. Hummingbird sage features striking attractive pink flowers that emit a strong and vibrant scent that is similar to the scent of rosemary with a hint of fruitiness.
The flowers of the Hummingbird sage plant can grow up to 3 ft tall. Hummingbird sage is known to grow dense and thick which makes it a popular garden herb. The plant’s bold pink flowers are rich in pollen and are great for attracting pollinators to the garden. The sage leaves look slightly different from other sage plants as their texture is not as fluffy as common sage for example. However, its leaves offer a strong aroma that is well recognized.
Golden sage is scientifically known as Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina.’ This sage plant is recognized for its unique appearance. Whilst it features distinctive soft sage leaves, its leaves feature a unique golden border. Golden sage emits a strong and distinctive scent that is similar to that of common sage.
Considered to be very similar to Common sage, golden sage is also commonly used for culinary purposes due to its distinctive minty flavor and scent. However, Golden sage differs in appearance and is frequently used as an ornamental plant for brightening gardens. Golden sage grows well in well-drained soil and thrives in warmer climates. It can grow up to 2 ft tall.
Tricolor sage is a bold sage plant with unique leaves. Tricolor sage consists of three significant colors, bright green, white and bright purple. Tricolor sage is scientifically known as Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor.’ This perennial plant offers a mild sage flavor and scent and is a common sage plant for culinary purposes.
Tricolour sage is also frequently used as an ornamental as a result of its unique appearance and subtle mint scent. It is also a sage plant that can be used for medicinal purposes as it is believed to contain healing properties that help to reduce inflammation. Tricolor sage grows well in well-drained soil and it thrives in warmer climates.
Pineapple sage is characterized as a more shrubby sage plant variation. Pineapple sage is a perennial plant that features bright green leaves that emit a strong, fresh pineapple aroma when crushed. This unique sage plant makes a great ornamental plant, not only because of its unique scent but also its bold and vibrant blossom.
Pineapple sage flowers feature bold red flowers that stand out from any garden. This is a plant that thrives during the summer months and can grow up to 5 ft tall. Pineapple sage leaves not only smell great, but they are also edible and are commonly used for culinary purposes such as making herbal tea.
Its red flowers are also edible and are characterized as tasting similar to honeysuckle. Pineapple sage is also commonly used for medicinal purposes and is used as a herbal remedy for rebalancing the nervous system as it is said to contain anti-depressant properties.
White sage, scientifically known as Salvia apiana significantly differs from other sage plant varieties. White sage is commonly used for sacred purposes. It is a sage plant that is commonly used for smudging and cleansing. This plant is native to southwestern America and northwestern Mexico.
White sage thrives in a dry and desert climate and it can’t survive in cold climates. White sage has been used for centuries for sacred purposes and medicinal purposes. It is used as a herbal remedy for treating hormonal imbalances, promoting relaxation and soothing. It can also be used for culinary purposes and can be made into tea.
Considered to be a very versatile herb, white sage is one of the most popular and well-recognized sage plants. White sage features distinctive white silver jagged leaves that make for a striking addition to a garden. Besides being frequently used for culinary and medicinal purposes, white sage is also commonly used as an ornamental plant.
So, there you have it… 10 of the most exciting sage plants. Though we’ve only scratched the surface of the different sage varieties out there, we’ve given you a comprehensive list of a couple you can get started with exploring. Whether you’re looking for the sage to add to your home garden or you’re looking for the sage to add to a recipe for culinary purposes, there is something for everyone.