Western Sage

KijoSirenOctober 7, 2011

So, to be direct and to the point, I am interested in growing Sage to use for smudge sticks. I was told that I don't want to use Salvia officinalis because it doesn't burn right and more often than not causes difficulty in breathing (unfortunately for me, that's what I have currently... I use it for cooking) and that I should use Western Sage. Now, being a novice when it comes to gardening (my pot of cooking herbs and the few flowers that my kids started growing at school withing the past 2 years are the first plants I have been able to keep alive), I haven't a clue what Western Sage even is. Only that it has a purple flower. Is there someone here that can tell me what the botanical name is so that I can get the plant I am looking for?

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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

Salvia apiana is used for smudge sticks.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 8:39AM
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ccroulet(z9 CA Sunset 18)

The most popular sage for smudge sticks -- in fact, the only one I'm aware of, but I'm not an expert on that aspect of it -- is white sage, Salvia apiana, which is native to coastal and inland so. Calif. and northern Baja Calif. The flowers are white. If there are purple cultivars, I've never seen them. The plant is native to my area (sw Riverside Co., Calif.), and I've grown it from both seed and cuttings. See my 2008 thread about propagating it, which also has pix of the plant in nature. Check with Las Pilitas or Tree of Life Nursery for plants. The Theodore Payne Foundation may have seeds.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 5:42PM
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Thank you so much :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 10:30PM
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ccroulet(z9 CA Sunset 18)

Are you interested in plants or seeds? My experience is that it's easy from seed, but it'll be a couple of years before you have plants worth harvesting. My personal opinion (not that you asked) is that the smell of living S. apiana is vile. But I sent sprigs of several Calif. salvias, including S. clevelandii, to a friend in WA, and she preferred the S. apiana. Go figure!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 12:35AM
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White sage grows native only in SoCal and isn't the easiest plant to cultivate to where it's doing well enough to harvest. Where are you located and what conditions will your S. apiana have to grow in?

White sage mixed with incense cedar and bound with sweetgrass (Hierochloe occidentalis) are what I mainly what I've seen used as smudge sticks in CA ceremonies. Sweetgrass is pretty easy to grow in containers.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 10:03PM
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ccroulet, I agree; in the garden, s. apiana stinks. It smells "sweaty" to me. KijoSiren, you might want to plant it down wind.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 11:02PM
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