sage already flowering

liv2learnMay 16, 2009

I have a huge bed of culinary sage that I started from seed three years ago. It has survived each winter and just finished turning fresh and green again, but it's already flowering. Every singe plant is developing a big flower head! I have never gotten flowers on it so early in the year. I am not sure if I should clip the flower heads or let them go to seed - or half and half. Any advice? I've been drying the leaves for tea, but I can't use that much (it's really spread).

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cyrus_gardner(8)

All plants' goal is to guaranttee its gene. So when they get to a certai size, conditions they would flower to produce seeds.

A soil poor in nitogen and/or rich in phosphorus can encourage flowering. A lot of week plants deprived of nutrient will flower/seed sooner than those that have a good growing conditions.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 4:59PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Leave the flowers be. Not only are they pretty (and edible), but they won't affect the flavour or medicinal virtues of the leaves. It's just the right time for the flowers to appear, nothing more.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 7:34PM
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maifleur01

Mine are flowering like crazy and generally do at this time of the year. I like pulling the flowers off the plant and eating them. There is a little drop of nectar at the base of each flower. If you do this look closely for bugless flowers.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 8:03PM
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liv2learn

Ok, good to know this is normal. Usually my sage flowers later in summer. This flowering seems so early compared to the rest of the growing season. I haven't harvested any leaves yet.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 8:12PM
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marlingardener

My sages are flowering also, and the bees love the flowers! I just let nature take her course and harvest leaves, leaving the flowers for whoever wants to use them.
I envy your horticultural know-how--starting your sage from seed. I had to buy plants and propagate!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 9:39PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Mine never lasts past a single summer.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 10:08PM
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liv2learn

No special knowledge on my part. Just luck! I started the seeds in flats a few years ago and they survived. Now the plants are like a hedge. I intend to let them self-seed and keep going for as long as they can. That garden bed is theirs now. :-)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 9:27AM
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leira(6 MA)

I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking that the sage is blooming awfully early here in MA. My one common sage plant is growing like crazy and has put up several buds, which I'm sure will open sometime soon.

No sign of blooms yet on the Berggarten sage (I gather this cultivar rarely blooms), though it's doing quite well. At least I know that if I save the seeds, there won't be a cross.

As for my soil, I really don't think mine, at least, is nutrient-poor. I had to move every single plant around this Spring (a re-working of the raised bed), and every last one of them had a monstrous healthy root system, and they're all growing big and strong and healthy.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 12:52PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The month of April was the warmest on record here in MA. Usually, even in May we can get a few frosts in Z6. Right now, its quite cool outside, but not to a degree that would cause any sudden frosts. Like the old saying- if you don't like the weather, wait a minute. Because April had very warm days the trees and other plants have bloomed earlier than usual. Last year, I was covering my plum tree in mid May after it had bloomed from very warm days. On about the 25 of May we had a sudden frost and that damaged the blooms to cause none to mature into a fruit. In Mass, iron contenct can be very low as can nitrogen. I found this to be true after having a concise soil test done, not just for NPK but for minerals and minors, as well as micronutrients. A fw years ago, places like HOme Depot and others lost many garden plants that were affected by killing frosts. I too lost well over 2/3 of my 200+ tomato plants, so now I only plant outside the last day of May.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 1:29PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Wow - Sage blooming already. I don't expect mine to bloom for weeks yet. The weather has been interesting - tonight we have frost warnings again and later in the week we are forcasted to have mid-80 degree weather.

Sage is one of my FAVORITE plants. It's been planted in nearly everyone of my gardens in our current place and the previous one. One thing I look forward to is the "bumblebee blue" flowers each year. I call it bumblebee blue because the flowers are of the bumblebee's favorite color. Watch them. See what flowers they prefer and it is always the blue-violet colored ones. I like to watch bumbles as much as butterflies and that is a sage-bonus!

The flowers don't effect taste or strength of the plant. And if you are lucky, dropped seed will propagate some new sage plants...as mine do when they are in a happy location.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 2:07PM
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liv2learn

I never plant out my tomatoes, peppers, etc. until the first week of June. I have these in the house now under lights. May weather is too unpredictable around here. I did plant out seeds for kale, spinach, chard, beets, carrots, and radishes on Mother's Day weekend, but they can take a little cold.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 9:47AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

This weekend, my plants will all get moved to my small glass greenhouse outside. Its used to harden off all my plants a week to 10 days prior to planting in the garden. Today, temps only in the low 50's, hardly growing weather outside.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 6:17PM
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liv2learn

I have a small Harbor Freight greenhouse but we just set it up last fall. I wondered about using it to harden off plants but in nice weather it gets too hot in there even with the door and roof vent open and two panels removed for cross ventilation. I need a solar fan for it.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 6:22PM
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lilion

I'm glad I ran across this. I planted sage in a pot last summer (starting from a plant) and managed to baby it through our hot summer. I cut it way back in the fall and just shoved the pot against the wall of the house, where is was mostly out of the snow and rain and it came back this year! Right now it's really nice and bushy and every single stem has a big flower bud. I really didn't want to pinch it back. So I shall let it flower and enjoy.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 2:15PM
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wally_1936(8b)

Sounds like a great year for sage. I just took cuttings to replace those of mine which died and now I need to give back some of those cuttings to my good neighbor; we each try to share what we can so we both can enjoy more plants and fruits and veggies.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 3:44PM
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CarloAL0212

In my experience if I leave the flowers on, they multiply on each stem to the point where the whole stem is flowering down to the soil. However this happens to the detriment of the leaves. In the end only dry stems remain without leaves and the plant never recover. It is as though the plant, having flowered and dropped hundreds of seeds decided there is no reason to survive since new plants will germinate from those seeds.
So now I kill all the flowers (a pain) but the plants are gigantic with luscious 4-inch leaves.
Is it only my experience or a normal process?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 11:55AM
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jeremy_good

My sage has been flowering for weeks now. The leaves seem to be taking a back seat to the flower production. I harvest the leaves for tea And I don't mind a few flowers but it seems like not many new leaves are growing and the ones that were nice are turning yellow. I tried pinching off the buds but there were too many. I am contemplating cutting the plants back pretty hard to encourage leaf growth instead of flowers. Does this seem like a good or bad idea?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 12:24PM
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