Sage plant wilting

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I've been celebrating merrily my triumph with the zucchini and baby watermelons, but now this: my sage plant appears to be croaking. Good grief. Can't everything just stay happy and flourish all at once? (No. I realize the answer to that is, unfortunately, no. The garden constantly throws me curve balls. And that's what keeps it interesting, although sometimes -- like now -- it's darn frustrating!)

In the spring, this plant exploded with soft, fragrant new leaves. I'm now regretting that I didn't cut any of them to dry. I wanted to set some aside for our Thanksgiving dinner. But since the plant grew so effortlessly and rapidly, I didn't feel any urgency to harvest the leaves. I thought they would be here. All. Summer. Long.

My sage plant on April 25, 2007 -- Alive!

So what's going on with it? The leaves are wilting and curling and turning crispy brown. I think the plant had plenty of water. Could it be too much water causing this? Is it going the way of our rosemary?

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Related Posts:
Harvesting Sage
Chicken with Olives and Herbs
Brine a Turkey with Sage

14 Comments:

Blogger Ed said...

As it got closer to summer, I moved my sage out of direct sunlight to a part of my porch that only gets partial sun. The plants have been thriving since the move.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous melissa said...

I live in memphis, and this happened to my sage, as well, but I chalked it up to old age. Only part of it died, and that was after it spent early spring covered in blossoms and bees. It was a piece of a 6 year old plant that had been in its current location for 3 years. What survived is still going great guns.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer Hess said...

I've been reading a book called "It's a Long Road to a Tomato" and actually read about growing herbs this morning - sage, rosemary and thyme apparently do like drier soil than herbs like parsley and basil do.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Ashleigh said...

My thyme has the same affliction. The common thyme is ok, but the scented and variegated ones all seem to have this same illness :( When you find out what it is I would love to know.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Based on your description, and my understanding of the hot, wet DC summer weather, I think it has had too much water. It looks like the roots may have rotted. Sage grows wild on hot, rocky hillsides, so you can imagine how little water it needs to be happy.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Steve Mudge said...

Our sage just did the same thing! We've had torrents of rain this season in Fort Worth but it didn't bother it until last week...BUT at the same time the dog decided to use the herb garden for a potty stop...so unsure what did it in. While its true that the original Salvia officinalis grows on rocky hillsides in Southern Europe without much water these are garden cultivars that have been nursery grown for a few generations and I think have adapted to the more urbane existence and the extra water that comes with it. I'm leaning towards the dog taking out the Sage in our garden.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Hi, everyone,

Thank you for your input on this. Now that I think about it more, it might have something to do with where I placed the tomato plants this year. They are on the western side of the herbs bed and they've grown so tall that they're now casting shade in the afternoon where the sage is planted. The soil is probably holding moisture longer because of the shade. Anyway, that is my guess, based on making some more observations today.

Ed, your plant that you have in partial sun... is it in fairly dry ground? Or in a pot?

We don't have dogs coming through the plot, so fortunately I can rule that one out. Sorry that happened to you, Steve!

I am going to try and salvage whatever I can from this plant... and plant more seeds...

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Marion in Savannah said...

Oh, I'm so sorry about your sage. Mine is thriving in full sun in Savannah, so I doubt too much sun is the problem. Mine's also growing in a bed with VERY good drainage, actually in very sandy soil. I hope you can salvage it.

Oh, and congratulations on your zucchini. I got to my plants too late, and the horrible grubs or whatever they are got them. GRRRR....

10:29 PM  
Blogger janelle said...

I adore my sage plant. It goes through wilting stages but I just cut off a bunch of branches and it seems to thrive all over again.

In fact, it is the one plant I plan to dig up and take with me when we move:).

10:51 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I suspect the problem has to do with too much moisture and humidity. I had the same sort of thing happen to a lavender, which essentially needs the same sort of soil, heat and light conditions. You've probably looked at it pretty closely, but it might be worthwhile to see if there are spider mites or some other small critter that is causing havoc with the sage.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Soilman said...

Christa, hi

Could you have an attack of sage leafhopper?
http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles1006/sageleafhopper.asp

4:14 AM  
Blogger Herbs and Me said...

It looks to me too much watering. I have been watering my Herbs in the mornings and evenings but they haven't had a good soaking in a long time. Herbs do need to dry out a bit before then need to be watered again.

Renee

10:06 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Oh, no. I didn't even think it could be some kind of bug causing this. Some of the leaves do have the mottling that's shown in the photo on that link you sent me, Soilman. And spider mites? I hope it is just a moisture issue and not an insect infestation. I'll have to inspect the plant a little more closely next time I'm out.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Layanee said...

Hey, we've all killed our share of plants with kindness but it doesn't lessen the blow does it! Give it another try.

9:48 PM  

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