Sage Leaves Curling: 6 Reasons With Solutions!

Sometimes, you may face the leaves of your sage plants curling into tubes and the underside of the leaves is over showing. This is an indicator that your plant needs immediate care. 

So, why are the sage leaves curling?

The sage leaf will curl if you under-water or overwater the plant. Also, excessive heat, lack of nitrogen and herbicide damage can cause this problem. The leaves can also be curled if the sage plant is attacked by viruses or insects. To fix this problem, water the sage plant properly, ensuring proper drainage. Reduce the temperature to the optimal amount and remove the infected leaves. 

To know the reasons and solutions in detail, keep reading. 

Reasons Behind Sage Leaves Curling With Solutions 

sage leaves curling and turning brown

There are various reasons behind the sage leaves curling problem. All of them are discussed below. 

Reason 1: Overwatering

If you overwater your sage or let the water stay on the pot, it will cause the plant or curl up. 

When a plant is overwatered, the roots can become waterlogged and suffocated. It results in reduced oxygen supply to the roots. This can cause stress to the plant, which can result in sage leaves curling up.


First, check if the soil of the sage is soggy or not. If the soil is watery, the first thing you need to do is stop watering. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. This will give the roots a chance to recover and prevent further damage.

Make sure the pot you are using to plant your sage plant has a proper drainage system. 

You can add 3 to 5% hydrated lime or compost to make the soil dry faster. 

Finally, when the soil is recovered, start watering on the proper schedule. Sage plants require watering twice a week. 

Also, you have to water enough so that the soil is moist but not saturated with water. The moisture level in the soil should be similar to a sponge that has been soaked in water and then wrung out, leaving it damp but not dripping wet.

Reason 2: Underwatering 

Underwatering can cause sage leaves to curl because it can lead to dehydration and stress in the plant. When a plant doesn’t receive enough water, it tries to conserve moisture by curling its leaves. 

If the plant is underwatered, you will see other signs such as spotty or pale leaves, and brown leaf tips. So, if the sage leaves curling and turning brown, underwatering is the culprit. 

To test if the plant is not having enough water, insert your fingers into the soil and if around 2 inches of the soil feels dry, the sage plant is lacking water. 

Lack of water causes all the plants exposed to some problems. For example, firestick plants don’t get enough color if there is a lack of water. 


Water the plant thoroughly to make sure that the soil is moist all the way through. Water until water runs out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. That way you will know all of the soil is covered. But make sure not to overwater the plant. 

After that, regularly water your sage twice a week. 

Reason 3: Excessive Heat

Excessive heat curls up the sage leaves for the same reason mentioned under overwatering. Excessive heat can be responsible for white sage leaves curling


The sage plant usually requires a pretty high temperature to grow, which is between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. But if your region is hotter than that or there is a heat wave, you have to take the following steps. 

  • If the sage plant is receiving direct sunlight for too long, provide some shade to protect it from excessive heat. You can use landscape burlap and shade cloth to protect the sage plant if it’s planted directly on the ground in your outdoor garden.
  • If the sage is planted in a pot, move it to a shaded area until the temperature outside is optimal.
  • Water the plant regularly and deeply. On hotter days, you can increase the watering frequency but don’t overwater the plant.

Reason 4: Lack Of Nitrogen

Nitrogen is a major component of chlorophyll, When a sage plant lacks nitrogen, it cannot produce enough chlorophyll. It reduces the plant’s photosynthesis rate. As a result, the plant cannot produce enough energy to support its growth and development. 

The sage plant responds to the lack of nitrogen by conserving energy, which causes the leaves to curl up.


Provide your sage plant with nitrogen-rich or amino acid-based fertilizers. You can use organic fertilizers for that such as blood meal, fish emulsion, or compost tea. You can also buy nitrogen-based fertilizers.

You can also try adding coffee grounds to the sage plant soil as It has some nitrogen. And coffee is a good fertilizer for plumeria and other houseplants like that. 

Reason 5: Herbicides Damage

If you have recently used herbicides in your garden to get rid of unwanted weeds, your sage plant may have been damaged by that chemical. In this case, the leaves will keep curling one by one, and it’s only the first symptom of your plant’s damage due to harmful chemicals. 


There is nothing you can do to revive the damaged leaves. But if you catch the symptom early, you can prune out the damaged leaves so the damage doesn’t spread to the rest of the plant. 

Reason 6: Viral Infection & Insects

If your plant is attacked by viruses or any other insects, it can cause the sage to curl up. When the sage plant is infected by a virus, you see some other symptoms as well. For example, mosaic patterns, vein clearing, deformed growth, and leaf distortion.

Attack of some insects including aphids, and whiteflies. Thrips can also cause your sage plant to curl. If the plant is attacked by pests, you will notice a downward curl on the leaves. 


At first, you must isolate the infected or attacked plant from other healthy ones. Mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap with 1 gallon of water. And spray the mixture on the insect-attacked plant. 

In case of viral infections, it is important to remove and destroy the infected plants. It will prevent the spread of the virus to other plants. If only one small portion of your sage plant is infected, pruning out that part only can also save the plant. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Does Sage Like To Be Misted?

The sage likes to be misted at a younger age when it has less drought tolerance and the root is not mature enough to take enough water. However, when the plant is matured, you don’t need to mist the sage plant. Only watering should be enough. 

What Causes Brown Spots On Sage Leaves?

If you overwater or underwater your sage plant, it can cause brown spots on the leaves. If you keep the soil soggy. You will face this issue. Also, you can notice brown spots on the sage leaves if it is attacked by a fungal infection. 

What Is A Common Disease For Sage?

Botrytis Blight is a fungal attack that is one of the common diseases for sage. It causes gray mold on the sage leaves. Also, Powdery mildew is another common fungal disease for sage. In this case, you will notice whitish powder all over the sage leaves. 


Here go all the possible reasons for sage leaves curling with their most effective solutions. I hope, after reading this article, you could easily recover your plant. 

Once your plant has recovered and the leaf curling problem is gone, don’t forget to take proper care of your sage plant. 

Now it’s time to go. All the best!

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