Purple Sage Plants (Salvia officinalis Purpurascens)Purple Sage Plants (Salvia officinalis Purpurascens)

Purple Sage Plants

Salvia officinalis PurpurascensFeefo logo

The details

Salvia officinalis Purpurascens

Pot Grown Herbs
  • Height: 60 cm
  • Spread: 60 cm
  • Colour: Young foliage is a distinctive purple
  • Flowers: mauve blue in summer
  • Uses: culinary, medicinal
  • Taste: highly aromatic
  • Harvest: all year
  • Storage: ideally not
  • Spacing: 45 cm
  • Life: hardy perennial
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit
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Description

Salvia officinalis Purpurascens, Edible Purple Sage Plants

Purple Sage has that wonderful aromatic foliage so beloved by the English and the Italians for their cooking. The leaves are thin and oval-shaped with a subtle purple hue and a slightly furry, veined texture. In summer the flowers are a beautiful mauve blue that attracts butterflies like mad. The plant is reasonably bushy and can be clipped into shape to preserve some formality if required.
One of the perennials in our range of UK grown vegetables and herbs.

Features

  • Height: 70 cm
  • Spread: 70 cm
  • Colour: textured purple foliage, mauve/blue flowers
  • Flowers: summer
  • Uses: culinary, medicinal
  • Taste: pungent, Christmas stuffing!
  • Spacing: 45 cm
  • Harvest: year-round, especially if protected with fleece in winter
  • Life: hardy, evergreen perennial

Growing Purple Sage

Purple sage is a more ornamental form of common sage but performs the same job of producing a super useful and distinctive herb all year round, especially if you cover the plant in winter with fleece to improve the texture of the fresh leaves.

Obviously sage is crucial at Christmas in sage and onion stuffing, but we would urge you to stew it in olive oil to anoint pulses and beans, to deep fry it to garnish risotto or just have it tempura style, or to soften it in butter to pour over pumpkin ravioli. Like its close cousin, common sage, Purple Sage also aids digestion which is why it is often included with pork dishes, like sausages. Being evergreen it adds structure to your garden, especially if you clip and shape them carefully in spring so that they can punctuate areas of your garden. In the vegetable garden, sage is said to deter cabbage white butterflies so should be interspersed in the brassica patch.

A large swathe of purple sage would fit in well with the modern prairie planting look and marries well with any silver plants like Wormwood (Artemesia) or Rabbit's ears (Stachys byzantina). The flowers make perfect partners to sweetpeas in posies and can be used sparingly in salads or on boiled new potatoes. Another good evergreen herb for a Mediterranean feel that complements a purple sage would be rosemary.

Sage is not long-lived, needing replacement every four to five years. You can dry the leaves but they tend to pick up a rather musty smell and taste, so you are better off using them fresh. You can grow sage in pots but use a loose compost containing bark and grit, and do not overwater.

Did You Know? 

It has long been known that sage tea is beneficial for colds, and if you add a little cider vinegar it makes an effective gargle for sore throats, laryngitis, mouth ulcers and tonsillitis. The essential oil is used in vermouth.

Aftercare

As with most aromatic herbs, purple sage is rarely attacked by pests or disease. The main thing to remember is not to prune it in autumn because the frosts will kill it. Instead, clip lightly in spring to encourage leafy growth with strong flavour and to maintain its shape, and then again after flowering in late summer. Keep the soil rich and well drained.