Grove sage, steppe sage, Salvia nemorosa - care and cut

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Grove sage, steppe sage, Salvia nemorosa

The grove sage (Salvia nemorosa) belongs to the genus Salvia, the family Lamiaceae (Lamiaceae). New varieties are available every year in the trade. Including low and higher growing varieties, from 20 to 80 cm. The evergreen steppe sage spreads its Mediterranean flair both in the field and in pots. As a bee pasture and butterfly magnet, it is an asset to nature. There is also a wide selection of colors, with shades ranging from blue, purple and pink to a pure white blossom.


In temperate climates, the steppe sage is at home. It is best to give it a sunny, warm, sheltered location. With dryness he gets along well. With waterlogging and shade rather not. In company with other herb shrubs, in rockeries or pebble beds, he feels particularly well. The surrounding plants should not tower over him, because then he will not get enough sun. For some varieties also partially shady places are possible, possibly the flowering will not be so abundant.


The soil for the grove of sage should be permeable and more calcareous. Heavy loamy soils that tend to moisture are unsuitable. Such soils must be specially prepared for the sage. For this, the soil has previously been deeply mixed with inorganic materials such as sand, gravel or expanded clay. For the potted planting you take normal potting soil, which is previously enriched with a little sand. Important is a good drainage layer in the pot, because even here it must not come to waterlogging.

Pouring and fertilizing

If the Hain-Sage feels comfortable at its location, further care is child's play. Regular, no excessive, watering during flowering and one to two fertilizer applications per year are sufficient. For fertilization compost, full or hydraulic fertilizers are suitable. Fertilize in the spring before flowering. If you like, you can fertilize again for the second flowering in July. Previously, with a pruning of the withered perennial, one should give the incentive for a second flowering.


Grove sage, steppe sage, Salvia nemorosa

Twice a year, the grove of the sage can be removed with pruning shears: during the maintenance cut in the spring and the pruning in the summer. In autumn after the last flowering is best not cut anymore, the old herb protects the perennial from the winter frost.

preservation section

The main section then takes place in spring. Here you can generously cut the perennial into shape. By this measure, the clumps keep a nicely compact growth habit. Old, unsightly stems and leaves are removed. The cut can be up to 15 cm above the ground. It should not be cut into old wood.

Remounting section

The second cut is then made after the first flowering. Mostly, this pruning drives the Hain sage to a second beautiful flower, which persists into the fall. This measure is cut back to about one third. The second flower is not as abundant as the main flower.
Tip: It is best to do the remontage incision immediately after flowering, as soon as the flowers become limp. This prevents the plant from unnecessarily spending energy on planting the seeds.

flowers cut

Who has not performed a Remontierschnitt, can gradually remove each faded inflorescences. This also promotes a longer flowering period. It also looks nicer and prevents uncontrolled self-sowing.


In terms of hardiness there are some major differences in the different varieties of Salvia nemorosa. Generally, they are considered hardy to -25° C. However, as it is consistently heat-loving plants, a thin layer of brushwood is almost always advisable to protect against overly strong, especially bare, frosts.
Tip: Hainsalbei in tubs should definitely overwinter in a cool, frost-free place.


Basically, the sage stems can be propagated by sowing, cuttings and by parts. In March you can start sowing in a warm place. If the first plant leaves show up, they can be separated and then come outdoors from May. The propagation of cuttings is the most common in the nurseries. For this purpose, slightly harder, but not lignified, shoots about 15 cm long cut off. Then they come under high humidity in potting soil. The first roots show up after about 4 weeks.
The perennial varieties of Salvia nemorosa become noticeably older and less flowering over the years. Depending on the variety, this may already be the case after 3-4 years. A rejuvenation and multiplication by division is then easy to perform.In the early autumn, the plant is dug up and the roots carefully freed from the earth. With a clean cut you can divide the root ball and both plant parts can be used again to the intended locations.

Grove sage, steppe sage, Salvia nemorosa

Tip: It is recommended to share perennial garden sage regularly every three years. By doing so, one keeps his sage perennial young for many years.


The sage perennials that are offered in the garden trade, you can put almost the entire frost-free year in the bed. In doing so, the demands on location and ground must be observed. Many breeds are also available in seeds. As a rule, the cultivation of your own plantlets works quite well.

Diseases and pests

An enjoyable chapter: The Hain sage does not cause any significant damage from diseases or pest infestation. Spider mites or mildew may occur from time to time. If so, then the plants in the tub are more likely to be affected. On the other hand, it is easy to tackle with the usual, natural means:
  • mechanically rinse off with a hard stream of water
  • spray with a mixture of water, soft soap and alcohol (each 30 ml per 1 liter of water)
  • spray with a fresh milk-water solution, 1: 9 (mildew)


Here is a small selection of beautiful Salvia nemorosa varieties:
  • 'Viola': deep dark blue flower, flowers early, about 40 cm high
  • 'Plumosa': blooms purpur-violet, flowers densely filled, about 40 cm high
  • 'Marcus': flowers dark purple, dwarf species, up to 25 cm high
  • 'Caradonna': flowers dark blue, stems are black violet, about 80 cm high
  • 'Amethyst': flowers pink violet, grows upright, about 80 cm high
  • 'Blue Hill': flowers medium blue, very dense, about 30 cm high
  • 'Ostfriesland': blooms rich violet, very robust and hardy, up to 50 cm high
  • 'Adrian': blooms white and numerous, up to 60 cm high

plants neighbors

Grove sage, steppe sage, Salvia nemorosa

The steppe sage is a gregarious plant in beds and borders. The best neighbors are plants with the same soil requirements. They must not grow too high, so they do not take the sun from the sage. Good neighbors are for example:
  • Gypsophila repens (Gypsophila repens)
  • low garden evening primrose (Oenothera tetragona)
  • Pearl basket (Anaphalis)
  • Dyer Camomile (Anthemis tinctoria)
  • Girl's Eye (Coreopsis)
  • Daylilies (Hemerocallis)
  • Goldenrod (Solidago)
  • low sun hat (Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm')
  • roses
  • heathers
  • different grasses (eg blue winglet)
With the robust and long-flowering shrubs of Salvia nemorosa, impressive accents can be set in farm or nature gardens. Smaller varieties are also suitable as marginal planting. The not so winter hardy sage varieties are in good hands in pots. If the steppe sage is not to be used for the kitchen, then in any case, the insects are happy about the colorful delicacies in the bed.

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