I’ve always been enamored with sage.
I love chopping it up to mix into a brown butter sauce, crushing its leaves and inhaling its earthy fragrance, and watching its beautiful flowers appear in the summer. That said, I think it’s a must-have plant in the garden.
And since sage is a perennial, you can plant it once and then enjoy it for years to come!
Of course, you’ll need to take proper care of your sage plant if you want it to survive for multiple years. Along with selecting the proper environment and providing the correct amount of water, you can also utilize companion planting to help keep your sage plant healthy.
We’re going to cover some of the benefits of utilizing companion planting with sage and then introduce some of the best and worst companion plants for sage.
The Benefits of Companion Planting with Sage
Companion planting refers to planting two types of plants together so that at least one of the plants benefits the other. Sometimes, both plants will provide benefits to each other.
Utilizing this practice allows you to use sage to benefit other plants or use other plants to benefit sage. Wondering exactly what types of benefits we’re talking about? Then stay tuned!
Attract Beneficial Insects
When you think of sage, you probably imagine the leafy culinary herb that goes into stuffing, elevates brown butter sauces, and adds an irreplaceable flavor to roast chicken. However, you may not know that this plant can also produce attractive flowers!
If you allow the plant to flower, you can reap the benefits these flowers produce. One of the benefits is the presence of beneficial insects in your garden.
You might already know that flowers help attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and beetles. But do you know that there are many more types of beneficial insects than pollinators?
Other types of beneficial insects include predatory insects that feed on common garden pests like aphids, flea beetles, and cabbage worms. Some common predatory insects include ladybugs, green lacewings, parasitic wasps, and hoverflies.
The thing to note about these good bugs is that not all life stages feed on pests. While the larvae often feed on other insects, the adult forms often eat pollen or nectar.
That means that planting a diverse range of flowering plants can help attract these beneficial insects to your garden. And that means the adults are more likely to lay their eggs near problem pests!
Limit Garden Upkeep
When you group plants that require similar care together, it can make it easier to care for your garden. For example, if you group plants that require lots of water and little water together, it makes it simpler to care for your garden.
Sage is native to drier regions of the Mediterranean. That means it grows best on well-draining soils that are kept on the drier side.
Planting sage with other plants that require infrequent watering can help all your plants thrive.
Best Companion Plants for Sage
Are you wondering what to plant with your sage plants? Check out some of the top companion plants for sage.
While this list is a great place to start, it isn’t comprehensive. Just because you don’t see a plant on this doesn’t mean you can’t grow it next to sage.
Just like rosemary and sage go well together in the kitchen, they are also a great garden pairing. Both plants require similar conditions to thrive, which means they can be great neighbors.
So, what exactly makes them so suitable for growing together?
First off, both plants like their soil on the drier side. Both of these plants are native to coastal regions in the Mediterranean, where they can often be found growing on rocky hillsides.
While they can handle periods of drought, they absolutely hate sitting in wet soil. If their soil remains wet, the roots will likely rot.
Plant rosemary and sage in well-drained soil, water sparingly, and watch as these fragrant herbs thrive!
Oregano, like sage, is native to hills in the Mediterranean region. That means that both of these herbs require similar growing environments, which makes them good garden companions.
First, pick a location with full sun since both of these plants will suffer in the shade. Next, ensure the soil is well-draining and the area doesn’t hold water after it rains.
After you plant your sage and oregano in a suitable spot, you can continue to care for them in similar ways. First off, avoid overwatering your plants.
Both of these herbs like their soil on the drier side and only need to be watered when the top few inches of soil is dry.
One more Mediterranean herb that fits in well with sage is thyme. Both of these plants like well-draining soil that is a bit on the drier side.
Plant them in a location with full sun, and water only when the soil is dry to keep these plants happy.
While these two herbs are great garden companions, you should be aware of the variations in height. Sage can easily grow two feet tall while thyme rarely grows above six inches.
That means you should make sure that your sage plant doesn’t shade out your thyme. Planting your thyme a few feet away from the sage will allow both plants to receive the sun they need to thrive.
When it comes to selecting a thyme variety, be aware that many different types of thyme can work well with sage plants. This includes English thyme, lemon thyme, and French thyme.
Other herbs aren’t the only plants that grow well with sage! Quick-growing radishes can also work well as a sage companion plant.
While radishes are relatively easy to grow, their leaves are susceptible to a variety of pests. These include flea beetles, cabbage worms, aphids, and more!
One way to limit the number of pests present on your radish plants is to attract beneficial insects.
As sage plants produce flowers, they draw in insects including parasitic wasps, ladybugs, and green lacewings. When the adult forms of these insects are in the garden, they are more likely to lay their eggs near pests like aphids and cabbage worms.
When the eggs hatch, the larvae will begin feeding on the pests. And if pest populations dip, that means you’re less likely to need to apply insecticides!
Sage and lavender both grow well on rocky cliffs, in well-draining garden beds, and in sandy soils. These similar growing conditions mean that these plants can work well together in the garden.
Along with requiring similar types of soil, both plants need only a bit of water to thrive. Allowing the soil to dry out in between waterings will keep both plants happy.
Another benefit of growing sage and lavender together is that they look great as a pairing! Both plants grow a few feet tall and add a nice look to front yard garden beds.
Kale remains a popular garden crop due to its nutritional benefits and versatility in the kitchen. However, the crop isn’t just popular among humans!
A wide variety of pests munch on kale leaves. At best, this makes the plant unsightly. And at worst, it weakens the plant until it dies.
Kale pests include tiny critters like aphids and flea beetles as well as larger pests including cabbage worms and harlequin beetles. While excluding these pests with row cover or spraying them with pesticides are two management strategies, there are other ways to deal with pests.
Planting flowering plants like sage in your garden can help attract beneficial insects like green lacewings and parasitic wasps. When the adult forms of these insects come to the garden to feed on flowers, they’re more likely to lay their eggs near kale pests.
When the eggs hatch, the larvae will feed on the pests. In turn, this will lower the pest populations and decrease the chances you will need to spray pesticides.
Lettuce is yet another plant that is a common target of aphids. Planting sage and lettuce together can help attract beneficial insects that feed on aphids.
When ladybugs, green lacewings, parasitic wasps, and other beneficials are in your garden, aphid populations are more likely to remain low. And that means your lettuce plants will remain healthy.
Since sage is a taller plant, it can also be used to shade lettuce plants. Although lettuce plants like lots of sun to thrive, they can become stressed by the hot afternoon summer sun.
Planting lettuce on the eastern side of sage plants can provide the tender plants with afternoon shade.
Arugula is one more crop that can benefit from sage’s ability to attract predatory insects. This tender salad green is a favorite of many garden pests, including aphids, flea beetles, cabbage worms, harlequin bugs, and more!
When sage flowers, it helps attract beneficial insects such as green lacewings, parasitic wasps, and ladybugs. These insects go to lay eggs that hatch into pest-eating larvae.
Since arugula is a small plant, you should plant it at least a foot away from sage plants. This allows the arugula to receive enough sun which will keep the plants healthy and limit fungal diseases.
Worst Companion Plants for Sage
While many plants work well with sage, you should aim to avoid planting the following plants next to your sage.
Remember how we said that sage likes its soil on the drier side? Well, celery is quite the opposite.
Celery’s shallow root system means that it thrives in soil that is kept constantly moist. If the soil dries out in between waterings, the plants can become stressed and develop off flavors and textures.
And if the soil around a sage plant is kept moist, the plants are likely to rot.
Since these two plants require such different soil moisture levels, it’s best to avoid planting them beside each other.
Sure, sage and ginger both bring amazing flavors to the kitchen. However, they’re not the best companions in the garden.
First off, ginger can grow quite tall. When the plants are mature, they are often three to four feet tall.
Their tall size means that they can shade sage plants. While a bit of shade isn’t a big problem for sage plants, lots of shade can cause them to become stressed or stunted.
Additionally, sage and ginger have different watering requirements. While sage likes the soil to dry out in between waterings, ginger likes its soil to remain moist.
To understate how different these plant’s water requirements are, let’s look at where they’re native to. Sage is native to rocky cliffs in the Mediterranean while ginger is native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia.
All this is to say that you should avoid planting these two crops next to each other!
Since onions have a shallow root system, they like for their soil to remain constantly moist. If the top few inches of the soil dries out, onions will not be able to reach the moisture they need to grow.
That means that you should water your onion plants one to multiple times a week, depending on rainfall, temperature, and other factors.
Sage, on the other hand, likes its soil to remain on the drier side. In fact, you should only water your sage plants when the top few inches of soil is dry.
Overwatering your sage plants can lead to stressed plants and potentially rotten roots.
Since onions and sage have such different water requirements, you should avoid planting them next to each other. However, you can plant them on different sides of your garden.
Utilize Companion Planting to Grow Healthy Plants
Whether you’re planting your first garden or have been growing plants for years, utilizing companion planting can help keep your crops healthy.
When you’re deciding what to plant with sage, remember to take note of sage’s fondness of dry soil as well as its abilities to attract beneficial insects.