Rooting for Pineapple Sage!
Pineapple Sage or Salvia elegans is a delicious herb.
It’s bright red blooms are gorgeous and it is also a tasty herb to grow in your herb garden! Another member of the mint family Pineapple Sage is considered to be winter hardy in zones 8-11.
Being a short day plant, Pineapple Sage is a late bloomer in the garden.
Short day plants only bloom when the days become shorter and nights become longer. Every plant has its own requirements for blooming. Some are short day, some are long day and some are day neutral. You can read more about day length and plants here, it’s riveting stuff.
Pineapple Sage can become quite large, so make lots of room for it in the garden. It’s also comfortable grown in a pot or container; just make it a big one!
Some of my Southern gardener friends find that if the top dies back after a frost, it usually pops up from the roots when Springtime soil temperatures rise…especially if they mulch the plant well. I would guess that gardeners in Zones 9 and 10 probably don’t even bother mulching. Or do you?
Those of us that are in more Northern climates usually grow it as an annual.
The plant can be kept clipped back to promote bushiness. You can use the fresh leaves in teas, and fruit salads! Pineapple Sage also seems to like more water than culinary sages; if it dries out it will wilt. Usually a good drink will perk it right back up.
Pineapple Sage provides fragrant, tasty leaves for us and beautiful red flowers that insects and hummingbirds find irresistible. Since it IS a later bloomer it provides nectar and pollen later in the season for hungry critters. It also means that some folks with short growing seasons may not see it bloom…unless they bring it indoors.
The Pineapple Sage above was in a large pot and blooming when I brought it into the greenhouse. They only last in the unheated greenhouse as long as the outside night temperatures are above 30*F. Any colder than that and they’re goners, but in the house they will continue blooming well in a very bright window.
Soon after blooming they will drop their flowers and leaves all over the place and go dormant. If you have some place cool (above freezing) to hide a dormant pot of Pineapple Sage you can often over-winter it.
If your Pineapple Sage has not started blooming yet, you can take young tip cuttings and root them in water or take cuttings and root them in potting medium.
Pineapple Sage grows quickly so you can take cuttings, root them and pot them up when they are ready. These can be grown all winter long under lights. Since this plant is a native of Mexico you might find that your young plants are a lot happier with some root heat, particularly in colder areas!