Why Are My Sage Leaves Turning Black?

sage leaves turning black
sage leaves turning black

Salvia officinalis, commonly known as sage, is a perennial subshrub that belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. It has greyish leaves, woody stems, distinctive aroma and stays green throughout the year.

It was the sacred ceremonial herb of the Romans back in the day and has been used for culinary and healing purposes for centuries. Other plants from this group include oregano, rosemary, lavender, thyme, and a few others.

Sage is loaded with nutrients and offers amazing health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, which protect your body from many diseases and reduce damage caused by free radicals.

The vitamin C

The vitamin C found in this herb boosts your immune system, thus preventing many diseases and infections.

Many studies have revealed that consuming sage regularly improves blood circulation throughout your body. In addition to that, it has been associated with better cognitive response and improved memory.

With that out of the way, if you are growing sage plants in your yard, you might have noticed that their leaves turn black sometimes. Discoloration always indicates some problem in leaves.

If the leaves of your sage plants have changed their color to black recently, this article is for you. This roundup offers a look at some reasons why sage leaves may turn black, along with their simple solutions. Let’s dig out!

Why Are My Sage Leaves Turning Black?

Below are some common reasons and remedies for this problem.

  1. Water


Many gardeners suggest that improper watering leads to a change in color in the sage leaves. It’s common knowledge that plants need water for survival. They take up water from the soil and perform photosynthesis to prepare their food. Therefore, they must be watered properly for the best growth.

Sage plants have minimal maintenance requirements and do not need a lot of water. Just water them once a week, and they will remain intact. As mentioned earlier, sage plants absorb water from their roots.

Therefore, water them thoroughly to make sure it reaches their roots. If neglected, the leaves of your sage plants may turn brown or black. If that’s the case, consider watering your sage plants more frequently.

It is to be noted that all plants need more water during the infancy period, and sage plants are no exception. So, you will need to water them at least once or twice a week to keep them in good shape. Once they have developed, water them every 10-15 days.

  1. Overwatering


Having said that, it is pertinent to mention that overwatering can also cause sage leaves to turn black. While underwatering causes leaves to lose their color, overwatering can also harm them in more than one way.

Ironically, overwatering can also cause dehydration in plants. When you overwater your plants, their roots soak in water. This affects their ability to absorb water, and your plant may stop taking up water and other nutrients.

This situation often leads to dehydration. When plants are dehydrated, they often become dry and wilted.

It is a good rule of thumb to check the soil of your sage plants before watering them. For this purpose, insert your finger into the soil. Water your plants only if it feels dry. If it is moist, leave it alone.

  1. Pruning

It is important to note that if the leaves of your sage plants have died, there is nothing you can do to bring them back to life. Most landscapers recommend pruning the leaves in such cases.

When you prune the dead sage leaves, it will prevent the other leaves from being damaged. Furthermore, it also makes room for new growth. If you take care of your sage plant properly, the new leaves will be healthy.

To prune the dead leaves of your sage plant, simply cut them with a scissor or pruning shears. And yes, do not cut more than 25% of the plant.

  1. Soil


Poorly drained soil is another common reason for this problem in sage leaves. For those who do not know, poorly drained soil is soil that retains water and remains wet for long periods.

If the soil does not drain water, the roots will become waterlogged and will eventually rot. This will result in dehydration, and the leaves will likely turn black.

If you are growing sage plants in a container, make sure it has a proper drainage system. If it does not have any drainage holes or the holes are blocked, the water won’t escape, leading to this problem. If so, consider repotting your sage plant.

Choose a container with drainage holes and fill it with soil. Once done, take out your plant and simply place it in the middle of the new container. Then, put some more potting soil around your plant and water it.

  1. High Humidity Levels

High Humidity Levels

If the atmosphere has a high humidity level, it can also cause the leaves of your sage plant to turn black. This is because the excess water won’t evaporate, and your roots will remain damp for longer.

If so, consider placing the pots a few feets apart from each other. This will allow for proper airflow and reduce humidity to some extent.

Many people mistake the black color of leaves for nutrient deficiency and fertilize the sage plants. However, over-fertilizing increases salt in the soil, which can change the color of the leaves to black.

Furthermore, it is seen that over-fertilizing causes leaves to lose their flavor. So, if you are to consume leaves, be careful while fertilizing your sage plants.

It would be better to consult with a botanist before fertilizing. They will assess the situation and tell you whether your plants really need fertilizer or not.

  1. Sunlight Requirements

Sunlight Requirements

Moreover, sage is a sun-loving plant and needs sunlight for 6-8 hours for optimal growth. If you are growing it indoors, consider relocating it to a place where it will receive enough sunlight.

You can place it under a window, or if the window cannot provide that much sunlight, it would be better to keep it outdoors. And yes, make sure to cover it with a shade during summer if the climate of your area is hot and dry.

The Bottom Line

Throughout history, sage plants have been used to treat many diseases. Their edible greyish leaves are a nutrition powerhouse and are used in many recipes.

However, many gardeners have reported that they change their color to black sometimes. This is a common problem often associated with sage plants. Oftentimes, it is caused by improper watering.

Sage requires relatively less water than other plants, so make sure not to overwater it. It is recommended to prune and destroy the dead leaves to protect other leaves.

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