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Pineapple Sage

Pineapple sage is an herb worth growing. Visually appealing throughout the summer, it achieves its full glory in the autumn when it blooms. Bruising a leaf to release its unusual perfume as you stroll through the garden is a simple pleasure that should not be missed. Pineapple sage is a must for those who value fragrance in the garden as well as those who strive to capture it indoors.

In the kitchen, fruit salads are enhanced by the fruity, piquant flavor of the fresh flowers and leaves. This flavor is very different from that of garden sage; although there is a sagey element, it’s very subtle, and pineapple sage doesn’t substitute for other culinary sages. The flowers add visual sparkle to the garden and to flower arrangements indoors. Even without flowers, a fresh leafy stem of pineapple sage is the perfect garnish for tall summer drinks. Pineapple sage develops into a graceful mound of fragrant foliage, equally at home in a formal herb garden or a casual border. An established plant in the South needs a space about 41/2 feet in diameter, preferably at the rear of a border or in the center of an island bed where it will not obstruct the view of foreground plants. In my garden, I’ve grown pineapple sage quite successfully in areas of high shade, although it performs best in full sun. Like other sages, pineapple sage needs a well-drained soil.

In our area, pineapple sage can remain in the ground all year, but be patient for it to emerge in the spring; it tends to sleep in until the soil is warm. When a plant becomes too large for its site, you can divide it in either spring or fall.

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