Newe Ya’ar Sage
Salvia officinalis x S. fruticosa
Newe Ya’ar sage, also known as silver sage, is a hybrid of Salvia officinalis and Salvia fruticosa. A culinary sage, it’s excellent in any foodie’s garden, but is also a great ornamental, even if you never plan to cook with it.
Developed by horticulturists in Newe Ya’ar, Israel, the goal was to develop a sage hardy enough to be commercially productive in Israel’s harsh climate, and they definitely succeeded with this cross.
Like many other soft-leaved Mediterranean herbs, Salvia officinalis, the common culinary sage, often struggles with our intense weather in the southern U.S. In spring, when humidity may be very high and days are often cloudy, garden sage may rot overnight. And in the summer, when humidity is low and the sun is bright, it may burn to a crisp under our intense rays and off-the-chart heat. These conditions can also affect the volatile compounds in culinary herbs that give them their valuable flavor.
With silver sage, you not only get a plant that looks great and performs well in our harsh southern climate, but it also retains its savory taste.
Plant in full sun and well-drained soil, and like other culinary herbs, water sparingly, except in the hottest, driest times. It’s listed as hardy into USDA Zone 8 and so may be winter hardy in your garden, which would allow it to live several years and potentially get 3 or 4 feet wide and tall.
And, as if you needed any more reasons to plant silver sage, it will be covered in delicate spring blooms, serving as a valuable pollen source for bees and other pollinators.
Viewer picture goes to Nelwyn Persky who painted concrete bunny statues for Easter last year. Inspired by Merrideth Jile’s How To on staining concrete, she followed his instructions and did a great job for her first try—she admits she rushed a bit, but knows the steps for future projects!