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Pineapple Sage

December 9, 2016 Back to Picks >

One of my favorite flowering herbs is pineapple sage (Salvia elegans). This tender perennial steadily grows over two feet high in the summer with dark green pointed leaves 2-4 inches long. Then in late fall, just as your garden is winding down for the winter, the bright red trumpet shaped blooms appear over several weeks.

Pineapple sage is native to the high altitude hardwood forests of Central Mexico so plant it where it can get some shade. It needs rich soil and regular water to thrive and flower. In my garden it also needs extra watering in July and August to endure our summer heat. The flowers of pineapple sage are a good source of nectar, making it a great candidate for a butterfly garden.

This herb is called �pineapple� sage because the crushed leaves emit a scent reminiscent of fresh pineapple. Young shoots of pineapple sage can flavor cold summer drinks. The green leaves and red flowers of autumn can be minced and added to a tasty pineapple pound cake for holiday gift giving.

In recent years a delightful cultivar of traditional pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) has appeared in nurseries. “Golden Delicious” is slightly smaller than the parent sage, reaching only about two feet. It sports light green-gold leaves that are the same color as Golden Delicious apples.