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Newe Ya’ar Sage

December 8, 2016 Back to Picks >

Not only are the sages attractors of native bees and parasitic wasps, Newe Ya’ar is truly a beautiful landscape perennial. It flowers early, which makes it great for bringing beneficial insects and pollinators to the garden, and it never disappoints as a terrific culinary sage as well.

A hybrid developed by the agricultural experiment station in the north of Israel, Newe Ya’ar has also found a home in Texas, growing quite happily even in our region, which sometimes discourages the sage varieties with our near-coastal humidity and heavy soil. But in our local gardens it is virtually trouble free.

Planted in a very sunny garden with excellent drainage and plenty of air circulation or in a large container in such a spot, Newe Ya’ar will be rewarding throughout the year. When its foliage becomes somewhat sparse, simply cut back each stem to about 1/2 of its length — you’ll see new growth from the center of the plant and along the sheared stems very quickly.

Like many perennial herbs, frequent fertilizing isn’t necessary — in fact, it tends to encourage weak, lanky growth. Take care not to overwater any of the sage family — the foliage is a good indicator when the plant becomes uncomfortably dry. The large fragrant leaves can be harvested and used fresh throughout the year, and the beautiful lavender blue blooms add a whole new dimension to a jug of fresh flowers.