Why did sage suddenly flower?

sage in bloom
You may not recognize this plant in flower. It’s sage. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

For years, I have enjoyed growing sage. The plants are reliable. No surprises.

This year my sage did something new: it got blossoms. I thought maybe that happened because we had a hot day and it bolted.

For answers, I turned to Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. They have a full line of 91 herbs.

No, the sage plant didn’t bolt; it flowered, she said.

The flowers don’t affect the taste of the sage leaves, Weber said. That can happen to some herbs, so I was glad to hear that I could enjoy looking at the pretty purple flowers and harvest the savory leaves, too.

“Your sage bloomed now because one or more things happened,” Weber said.

“It reached the age of blooming–each plant has its own. The plants know the seasonal changes and sage blooms early summer through fall.

“It might have become rootbound, unless it’s in the ground.” Mine is in a pot, so that is a possibility.

“It might have had the right amount of sun and or water,” she said. “Or it became stressed at some point, which makes all plants flower.” The plant wants to reproduce before it dies, so it sends up a flower that will go to seed.

I’m not sure which of those things happened, but it was fun seeing the flowers.

See more about bolting and flowering on herbs here.

4 Comments on “Why did sage suddenly flower?

  1. Ah! My sage plants are in 2 smallish sized pots for over a year, and seemed to be struggling over the winter months. Suddenly both plants (of different sage varieties), flowered, but both also began producing more leaves again. So, the plant isn’t dying, while I understand the flowering may be to being root bound. Perhaps I should plant in ground now.

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