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Growing Pineapple Sage

Jan 19, 2013
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Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) is a gorgeous centerpiece in the herb garden with showy red, trumpet-shaped blooms.  The pineapple scent is exotically tropical.  Not only is it a wonderful attraction to hummingbirds, butterflies love it as well.  

Add leaves and blooms to fruit salads, and sprigs to tropical drinks and teas.  The blooms also make delicately flavored vinegars.

Pineapple Sage is a tender perennial, and grown as an annual in the north.  Plant outdoors directly in the garden or in containers after the last chance of frost.  Sage will thrive in full sun and a rich, well-drained soil with regular watering.  Also allow plenty of room to accommodate their 5’ height and equal width.  

As sage grows, the bottom branches get woody and sprout even more branches.  They bloom late in the season, and are hardy in zones 8 to 11.  In my zone 9, blooming started in September.  Harvest as often as you want, buds will continue to develop on lateral branches for continued beauty.  If planted in a container you can bring the herb inside to a sunny location before a freeze, and it will continue to bloom.

Pineapple Sage is easy to propagate with cuttings, and even grew roots in my herbal bouquets.

I hope you will try this showpiece in your herb garden!


What a beautiful herb plant! I wonder if you live in a warm growing zone? Here in zone 4 - with freezing winters - we have a wonderful herb-growing opportunity at the apartment-complex where I live. The location is beautiful - by the river with riparian Cottonwoods, Willows & diverse birds. There are open spaces in lawn. And all around every building is a 10' wide, birm-like bed that is part of the exterior wall insulation. It was cleared of evergreen shrubs this summer & will be planted in some kind of perennial shrubs. I mentioned tea-herbs to the groundskeeper & he remains very interested & has asked me to make some recommendations. So I think I will draw up a plant list & planting notes for some basic, good-looking herbs that will winter over in our climate. Later we can try annual herbs or flowers between the core plant groups. Recently I was inpired by the article in the New York Times about long, active life on the Greek Island of Ikeria - and their practice of drinking wild, herbal tea every evening. Last night I did a big internet search about their Mediterranean herbs, many of which I have grown as annuals. I wonder if you have any recommendations for herbs that might be more hardy than generally reported - or any more particular favorites to grow later as annuals?
Oops - now I see you are in zone 9 ...
Hi there... that is such a great idea! The hardiest herbs I am growing are rosemary, oregano, and thyme. Basil will die at the first freeze but usually re-seeds itself. Since I am in zone 9, it's hard to recommend which herbs will come back after a hard freeze. This was my first time growing pineapple sage, and it was quite beautiful. I pulled it up at the end of the season to make room for brussel sprouts, but would like to plant it again this year. Another nice herb for tea is chocolate mint. But beware, it spreads like crazy. Good luck with your project Jessica!

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