Clary sage is a highly aromatic biennial with gorgeous flowering stalks that range in color from pale pink to mid-purple. She attracts the pollinators like crazy and absolutely loves dry infertile terrain.
If you’re growing clary sage for the volatile oils (essential oil), she does best in poor soil in drought conditions and you’ll get more essential oil than in moderate water and rich soil. Oils are best distilled from freshly harvested herb and the most oils are located in the flowering stalk. For the most essential oils possible, harvest in the morning or the evening.
Common name: Clary sage
Botanical name: Salvia sclarea
Scarification/Stratification: Rub with light sandpaper
Self fertile: Yes
Sow temp/season: Sow anytime from mid spring to early fall to overwinter, flowering in the second year. Seed will germinate in 70F soils.
Sow depth/spacing: Sow seed 1/8 inch deep barely covering seed with soil and spaced at one seed per inch.
Germination time: 7 to 14 days
Final spacing: 18 inches
Final height/spread: 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide
pH range: 6.0- 7.5
Soil type: Likes rocky soils with some lime.
Nutrition Not a heavy feeder.
Drainage:Well-drained soils a must. If soggy soils are unavoidable, create raised bed or grow in large pots.
Water requirement: Loves a drought here and there and despises wet feet.
Root type: Delving tap roots.
Companion plants: Tomatoes, peppers, fruit trees and cucumbers. Plants that require pollination will benefit from the bees it strongly attracts.
Pest and disease resistance/susceptibility: Root rot is a concern if drainage is less than desirable.
Sun: Full sun.
Hilling: Not necessary
Propagation: Seeds, cuttings, or layers
Hybridization: If you want true seeds, keep other salvia plants 1/4 mile away.
Uses: Clary sage can help with balancing female hormones, relaxation, and even euphoria. Combine with rose geranium in a bath for a highly relaxing 20 to 30 minute soak. As in, don’t operate heavy machinery afterward! Srsly. Don’t.