My sage is starting to form flowers. Is this considered bolting? Will the sage not taste good after it has bloomed?
I would cut the flowers off now. It will die after it flowers and the sage won't be as strong flavored. It will be putting more energy into making flowers and seeds. You could let one stem go to seed so you have free seeds next year.
My apologies to the last post if they're correct, but I've never heard of sage dying after flowering. It's a perennial and a bloom cycle is normal. I have never noticed much flavor difference with sage at any time. Use the larger, more greyish leaves for more flavor, the younger greenish leaves for less.
The sage at the community herb garden I manage blooms springtime (which is just starting here--snow and 19F on May 1). I would let it flower--and the flowers are yummy! Following the bloom, prune it back by up to 1/3 of the plant, and you may get a fall bloom too if it's that happy.
Balloonflower is correct, Salvia offinalis won't die after blooming; actually I don't know of any Sage that does. Just enjoy the lovely blue flowers and then cut off when done blooming as suggested by balloonflower.
Not all sage varieties are perennials. I did have two I grew from seed that did great for one year but the following year they were covered with blooms and died shortly after. I would not worry about them blooming. I just did some cuttings from an older plant and one of my 5 inch cuttings has already bloomed and I am waiting to see if I can get some seeds in the process. Cuttings are very easy to start so from now on I will be doing cuttings just in case another plant decides to die. If I end up with too many then friends and neighbors should be happy to see me.
Do you know the names of those? I find this very interesting. Thank you for letting me know.
If sandpapertongue is growing sage to eat it is almost certainly Salvia officinalis which is a perennial sub-shrub. Blooming is a natural part of its life cycle and it will live for several years.
There are about 900 Salvias which can be annuals, biennials, long and short-lived herbaceous perennials, subshrubs, evergreen or deciduous.
Salvia sclarea is an example of a biennial Salvia. Salvia viridis is an annual.
Wally, were all your sage plants for culinary use? I have had some that were strictly for ornamental use (Russian Sage for example although that one is perennial in my zone). Maybe some of the ornamental sages are annuals? The Common Sage (salvia officinalis) many people will grow for culinary use is perennial in my experience. It does become woody over seasons, so I usually start new ones from seed every couple of years. It has pretty flowers also and the bees and hummingbirds like the blossoms.
I personally love the sage (S. officinalis) blooms. The violet-blue color is so beautiful. And I get a great harvest of sage post blooming and seed production. I personally would not suggest clipping the blooms. In fact, let them go and save some seed to start new plants for even more sage!
The sage that died were from seed out of a big box store so I did not look as they were doing so well I never expected them to die at all let alone so quickly. When I lived in Michigan we had a sage bush that was at least 3 foot tall and just as wide. Had a trunk as large as my thumb. So expected it to live a long life. But then I gave one to my neighbor and mine died so this year I went over and took a bunch of cuttings. His died a week later so now I will be giving him some of my starts. Everyone has been doing very well so why the die I do not know but I expect to be sure to have more than one plant just in case.
I try to post a picture, that I found in the net, showing a bunch of sage with buds on.
My sage plant is just like that and has the same size buds.
My question to the starter: Is this what your sage looked like bofore flowering ?
My sage is also full of buds and they will open this week I think. I love the sage flowers..they are gorgeous!