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5 Causes For Your Sage Plant Sudden Death (Explained)

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Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 01:55 pm

It is pretty frustrating when you have tried everything humanly possible to get your sage garden to bloom, but things still seem to be off.

As a Sage gardener, one of the problems you face is your plant dying off before it is supposed to.

When this happens, the first question on your mind would probably be what causes the sudden death of your sage plants.

There are five possible causes of the early and sudden death of your sage plants. They include; Excess moisture around the sage plant’s roots, fungal diseases, the addition of excess fertilizers, poor watering by the cultivator, and old age.

The above listed are commonly known as the major causes of early deaths in sage plants. Read on to find out more about these causes of dying sage plants and how they affect them.

Why Did My Sage Plant Die?

A lot of factors can be responsible for the untimely death of your sage plant.

A few of them include:

1. Excess moisture around the sage plant roots

Originally, sage plants originated from the southern parts of Europe, growing on hillsides in the Mediterranean climate.

This occurrence means that sage plants are acquainted with growing in drought-like conditions with little or no rainfall and well-draining sandy soil.

On this ground, sage plants do not find persistent damp soil friendly. Therefore, excessive moisture on the sage roots can be due to certain factors:

  • Overwatering.
  • Slowly draining soils.
  • High rainfall.

2. Fungal diseases cause plant death

Whenever there is persistent moisture around the sage plant’s root, the damp soil will promote the conditions of fungal disease pathogens.

Verticillium wilt affects a lot of woody perennials, and unfortunately, sage is one of them.

This fungal disease often kills the sage plants while the pathogens can harbor in the soil for an extended period and make that area infected.

3. Excess fertilizer

Another cause of dying sage is the use of too much fertilizer. If the soil conditions are artificially very high in nutrients, it can cause the sage plant to wither and die.

In addition, the excess nitrogen from the fertilizer can cause:

1. Too much foliage grows that’s sappy, soft and makes the sage plant more vulnerable to diseases.

2. Less attractive/pronounced aroma and taste from the sage plant.

3. It can also cause the sage leaves to start turning yellow. Applying fertilizers is not necessary if you are growing your sage plants in the garden.

However, if you are growing potted sage plants, a half-strength all-purpose general applied during spring fertilizer can stimulate sage plant growth.

4. Underwatering

Although sage is drought resistant as its natural habitat is a hot and dry climate experienced in the Mediterranean, it is possible that underwatering can kill the sage plant.

This event occurs when:

1. The pot the sage plant is planted in is too small.

2. As a result, the sage plant is kept indoors and is being ignored by the gardener.

Little pots tend to heat up faster in the dry and hot climate, as a matter of fact, in any climate condition at all.

When this happens, the best solution is not to increase watering but rather to transfer the sage plants to a bigger pot.

If you increase how often you water because the pot is small, the sage plant is prone to root rot and fungal diseases that cause death.

5. Old age

This could be a significant contributing factor to your dying sage plants.

Whenever the center of the sage plant turns woody and growth becomes stunted, then it is safe to say that the sage plant has aged, and it is time for it to be uprooted so you can plant new ones.


1. When planting sage, you should ensure the soil is well-draining. Also, water your sage plants appropriately too.

(water your sage plant once every two weeks, but you can increase it to once a week whenever the weather gets hotter than usual).

2. Avoid using high nitrogen fertilizers since sage is not some heavy feeder plant.

3. Underwatering can lead to the death of sage plants. This condition can also occur if the pot is too small and cannot hold much moisture or soil.

4. Re-pot your sage plant during spring every year or thereabouts. The reason is that sage plants need enough space as they grow.

5. Please make sure the pot you plant the sage in has suitable drainage holes beneath it to enable excess water to escape from the soil and let the soil dry out before the next watering.

6. Indoor sage plants may be dying because they have not been watered enough.

7. Whenever there is excessive rainfall, sage plants tend to produce less yield unless some adjustments are made.

8. Sandy/not-so-loamy soil is best for growing sage to avoid excess moisture or damp soil. This statement means that too much sand is always safer than not enough.

9. In climates with high rainfall, you should give a good space between the sage plants.

This process is done to allow the surrounding soil to absorb the excess water off the sage roots. A space of about 12-16 inches is not a bad idea.

10. Controlling watering is more difficult when growing sage plants in a garden compared to growing potted sage.

The reason is that sage plants grown in the garden cannot be moved whenever the rain becomes excessive.

11. Always ensure that sage plants get enough sunlight no matter where they are grown. Sun is essential and on rainy days, grow lights are a very excellent alternative.

12. If sage plants don’t get enough sunlight, the yields will not be pleasing to the eyes and mouths.


Sage plants are beneficial as their leaves are very medicinal and healthy, but it becomes a problem when they die before their expected periods.

As frustrating as this can be, there are solutions, but you cannot solve a problem without knowing what the problem is.

That is why this article has been put together to enlighten you on the causes of the dying sage plants.

An excellent way to avoid early deaths in sage plants is by dedicating time to your garden to observe what is going wrong and how long it has been going on before you can begin to seek solutions.


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