Sage on the balcony: Everything you need to know about planting and care

Would you like beautiful flowers on your balcony in summer, a fresh, spicy scent, and herbs to refine your food? Then the sage is perfect for you! In addition to its beautiful flowers and delicious leaves, it and its essential oils are also said to have healing properties. We will show you how you can cultivate sage on your balcony and why you no longer need a green thumb for a beautifully planted balcony.

Where does the sage bush come from?

Sage originally comes from the Mediterranean region. Its botanical name “salvia” derives from the Latin words “salvus” (healthy) and “salvare” (to heal), which indicates that it was already used as a flavoring and medicinal plant in ancient times. Benedictine monks brought the shrub to Central Europe as early as the 8th century, where it was cultivated in monastery gardens. Today it can be found in large numbers in local garden and balcony plantings.


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Sage on the balcony: which varieties are suitable?

There are more than 900 different types of sage worldwide. They differ less in their appearance than in the composition of the essential oils they contain. Some varieties grow up to 120 centimeters high and are therefore rather difficult to keep in buckets, pots, or balcony boxes. Instead, smaller varieties are suitable, such as:

Real sage is the classic among the sage varieties. The perennial subshrub grows between 30 and 60 centimeters tall, contains a large number of essential oils, and also feels at home in the balcony box.
Yellow-green sage grows up to 60 centimeters high, is winter-hardy, and feels very comfortable in a larger bucket on the balcony.
Purple sage has similar requirements to yellow-green sage. The longer it is exposed to strong sunlight, the darker its purple leaves turn.
Dwarf sage is perfect for balcony boxes or smaller pots. It only grows to about 35 centimeters and is even hardy.

How does sage thrive best on the balcony?

Since most sage varieties come from the Mediterranean region, they feel most comfortable in warm, full-sun locations. In such places, the herb also forms the most aromatic fragrances. Sage feels particularly at home on south-facing balconies. A semi-shady place should only be chosen during the sowing and cultivation phases.

An important factor for lush growth on the balcony is choosing the right soil. Sage prefers a nutrient-rich, permeable soil with traces of lime. Normal herb soil can be used for this, but it should be enriched with compost, horn shavings, and a little sand to ensure sufficient permeability. Tip: If you mix eggshells under the substrate, this increases both the permeability and the lime content.

Sage does not tolerate waterlogging - it is therefore advisable to use clay pots and window boxes with drainage so that excess water can drain away in a controlled manner.

How and when should you plant sage on the balcony?

If you want to grow sage from seeds, you should start in March. It is advisable to use a bowl with potting soil and spread the seeds on it. The ideal germination temperature is between 18 and 20 degrees. Since the sage belongs to the light germinators, it should never be covered with soil. After the sprout has reached a size of 5 centimeters, it can be transplanted into a pot. From May it can then be placed on the balcony.

This also applies to pre-grown plants that you bought in the garden center or in a nursery. Sage blooms between late June and early July.

How do I care for the sage on the balcony?

If the sage plant was freshly planted, it must be watered regularly and plentifully. Unlike young plants, the shrubs require significantly less water from the second year. It is recommended to provide the sage with the required nutrients every two weeks until August through the use of fertilizer.

The most important thing when caring for the sage is the right cut. To ensure that the subshrub does not become too woody, its shoot tips must be continuously removed beyond the harvest requirement. This helps ensure that only the herbaceous parts of the plant continue to branch out. The main cut is carried out in spring: the sage is trimmed to a height of around 15 centimeters.

Many sage species are winter-hardy. To prepare the plant for wintering, the soil should be covered with leaves and straw before the first frost. The pot or tub is covered with jute and placed on a block of wood. It is completely normal for sage to lose its leaves in winter – they grow back when temperatures are permanently above zero again. Only a few tropical species need to be placed on the windowsill for the winter.

Sage: harvest and uses

The best time to harvest the sage leaves is just before they bloom in July - this is when the leaves are particularly aromatic. Of course, it is also possible to pick and use the leaves and the edible flowers later in the summer. Harvest time ends in August. From then on, the fresh shoots should be given the opportunity to solidify so that the sage gets through the winter healthy.

Balcony Planting: Sage & More with The Plant Box

Do you also wish for a beautiful balcony planting for the warm months? You don't have the time to take care of it, or you don't trust yourself to handle the plants? The Plant Box has the perfect solution! Our plant experts create new flower and plant arrangements for the balcony all year round, which we send straight to your home. So you always have a suitable, seasonal, and sustainable plant option for your balcony. You can find sage in our Purple Provence or Herbal Harmony creations, for example!

Your advantages with The Plant Box:

  • Creatively combined flower arrangements by real balcony professionals
  • Direct delivery to your home - without lugging, setting up, and repotting
  • Sustainably cultivated seasonal flowers from regional cultivation
  • Large selection of different flower combinations
  • Perfect for this: the balcony box from The Plant Box made from recycled vegetable oil


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Can't decide on one of our refills? Or would you like more seasonal variety on the balcony? Then join us in the Plant Lover Club! You will receive a new refill for your flower box from us five times a year, so that fresh plants await you on your balcony all year round.

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