Garden Plant of the Month for May: Woodland Sage

Woodland Sage (Salvia nemorosa) is a delight to have in your garden. A breath of wind causes the purple plumes to sway elegantly, and you will keep gazing at them in amazement.

One unusual feature is that Woodland Sage is one of the few garden plants with square stems. Honeybees, butterflies and dragonflies also love the plant because of its high nectar production so it’s safe to say that the Garden Plant of the Month for May is a blessing to your garden!

Sage & Sage
Woodland Sage is a member of the Salvia plant family, which includes over 900 species. That sometimes causes confusion, because apart from the sage with purple plumes (Salvia nemerosa) there is also – for example – the well-known garden herb sage (Salvia officinalis). This is very tasty, particularly in Italian dishes, but most other species are a feast for the eye only and not suitable for human consumption. Depending on the species, sage grows to a height of between 40 and 100 cm. The purple plumes are on display from May until August. With taller varieties at the back of the border (and smaller ones at the front) you immediately lend greater depth to your garden. Apart from use in borders, Woodland Sage is also well suited to planting in containers on the balcony or patio.

A couple of simple tips will keep your sage in optimum condition. A position in full sunlight is important. Watering is the same as for other garden plants. If it’s been dry for a long time give the plant a sprinkle on the soil around the roots so that the roots can rapidly absorb the water. If you have Woodland Sage in a pot on the patio you may need to water it slightly more often. Do make sure that there is a hole in the bottom of the pot or use hydro beads so that excess water can drain. Also give your sage some plant food to ensure lavish and extra-long flowering.

Pruning tip: When the Woodland Sage’s purple plumes have finished flowering cut the stems back immediately: there’s a good chance the plant will flower a second time!

More information about the Woodland Sage and other garden plants can be found at

Published on: 28 April 2016