About Prairie Sage: Prairie Sage springs up naturally on dry slopes, canyons, open woods, and dry prairies. Its silvery foliage is a food source for animals such as grouse, jackrabbits, antelope, and pronghorn. This plant was one of the most commonly used by Native American tribes, who had numerous medicinal and ceremonial purposes for prairie sage. Burning dried bundles of sage was believed to have a cleansing effect, and took place at the start of traditional ceremonies as well as in sweat lodges. Infusions of the leaves often benefited sore throat or stomach cramps, while breathing in the vapors brought relief for respiratory problems. Interestingly, prairie sage belongs to an entirely different plant family than culinary sage; the FDA has classified prairie sage as unsafe for internal use, since it contains substances that can be dangerous in large doses.
Prairie Sage Germination: Direct sow on the surface of the soil in late fall. For spring planting, stratify by mixing the seed with moist sand and storing it in the refrigerator for 30 days before direct sowing. To start indoors after stratifying, sow the seed on the surface of a flat; keep it lightly moist and at a temperature of 65-70 degrees F until germination. Transplant seedlings 15-18” apart as soon as they develop a good root system. Prairie Sage grows well in poor soil and adapts to rocky, sandy, or clay soils.
Growing Prairie Sage Seeds: Prairie Sage tolerates drought well, but does not do well in high humidity. The tops of the stems can be pinched back in spring to tidy the plant’s growth; if it begins to decline in summer, the foliage can also be cut back late in the season to promote new growth. When cut in the fall, new growth may appear through the winter. Since this rather aggressive plant both reseeds itself and spreads by means of rhizomes, deadheading the fading flower heads will help prevent excessive new growth. This plant repels deer and rabbits, and helps with erosion control. Its striking silver foliage makes it a good choice for contrast in plantings, and its hardy spread makes it a carefree, bushy ground cover.
Harvesting Prairie Sage: Stems can be harvested from the mature plant any time before the flowers appear. For drying, bundle the stems together and hang them to dry in a warm place away from direct sunlight.
Saving Prairie Sage Seeds: Gather the seed heads as soon as they turn brown and contain mature, dark colored seed. Strip them from the stalk and spread them out to dry in a dry, warm place away from direct sunlight. Thresh the heads to remove the seed. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Prairie Sage Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Native Wormwood, White Sage, White Sagebrush, Louisiana Sagewort Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer-Early Fall Height: 36-48 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry USDA Zone: 3a-10a Seeds Per Oz: 250,000 Produces 4” silvery, aromatic, blade-like foliage and inconspicuous, tiny yellow flower clusters.