Lavender is not a type of sage plant, but rather a close relative to sage. Lavender is a member of the Lavandula genus while sage is a member of the Salvia genus. Along with basil, rosemary and oregano, lavender and sage belong to the mint family of plants called Lamiaceae. Over 3,500 species of plants are in the mint family, and many are commonly cultivated for their ornamental and aromatic properties in home gardens, according to the University of Texas.
Mint Family Characteristics
Members of the mint family, including sage and lavender, are characterized by their bilabiate -- two lipped -- flowers and aromatic foliage that grows evenly on opposite sides of square stems, according to Wayne's Word. Both sage and lavender develop dense clusters of small flowers on the top portion of the main stem of the plant.
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) is a perennial herb that has attractive purple flowers that enhance home gardens with their sweet fragrance. Lavender flowers can be harvested, dried and used indoors as potpourris or in dried floral arrangements. Lavender can also be used as an additive for culinary use in salads, desserts, jellies and wines, according to Purdue University.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a woody herb with light green leaves that make excellent additives to meat dishes, according to the University of Illinois. Chopped and dried leaves are a common addition to cheese and salad dressings. In addition to their flavor enhancing properties, sage is an attractive plant that can be planted in dense clusters in your landscape.
Sage and lavender are native to the sunny, dry coast of the Mediterranean and both plants require at least six hours of sunlight each day, according to University of Minnesota. The herbs grow best when planted in well-drained soils with a neutral pH. Sage and lavender are highly drought tolerant plants and should be watered sparingly to avoid root rot. Avoid adding fertilizers since too many nutrients cause rapid, leggy growth but very few essential oils that give the herbs their characteristic aromas, according to the University of Minnesota.