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Sage Plant Smells Like Cat Spray When Watered

I love using sage in quite a few of my recipes, but I've always purchased it dry. This summer I decided to grow it to use fresh or to dry my own and, since it's a perennial, it will grow indoors in my dining room window this winter.


Anyway, at first I thought I was imagining this, but every time I water them, sure enough, there is an odor of cat spray. Has anyone else ever noticed that when the leaves get wet? Maybe it's the variety of sage I chose? I am not so sure I want to bring the plants indoors now ;-)

By Deeli from Richland, WA

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August 4, 20100 found this helpful

I grow sage away from the house. When wet it does smell unpleasant, but it's so useful and if left to flower the bees love it. I dry the leaves for the winter and leave the plant in the ground. It gets huge!
Marg from England.

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August 4, 20100 found this helpful

I guess I would suspect what you smell is correct.
My sage does not smell/stink.


Cats left outside do considerable damage to people's flower beds, gardens, edibles. Their urine smell in the soil is strong and the up sweep through the root system can make your plants smell/taste? funny.
I try my best to have a cat free yard, trusty garden hose discourages those who are turned out by their owners to do the damage. My dog is tethered within the confines of my yard and discourages them and the squirrels when she is out.
(We don't have dog spots in the yard as some people's yards showcase. If your dog has plenty of fresh water several times a day, their urine/feces will not harm the grass. Especially in our heat waves, it is so important for the dogs to drink a lot more.)

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August 5, 20100 found this helpful

Marg, thanks so much for letting me know I am not crazy ;-)

T&T Grandma, it's in a pot on a wood balcony rail ledge that is so so crowded with plants that no cat could get up there to spray it, but I do know what you mean about cats leaving those smells in the garden ;-)

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