In the Garden
Named for the uncanny pineapple scent of its foliage, pineapple sage is worth the wait. It is a seasonal treat that gives gardeners a sense of anticipation. A small plant set out in spring after the danger of frost has passed will grow into a V-shaped plant 3½ feet tall and just as wide by the time it blooms. It will then sprout spires of cardinal-red blooms in late summer and fall, just in time for hummingbirds and butterflies refueling for their fall migration. If you live in an area that does not freeze, blooms will continue all winter and sometimes all year.
Although cold hardy to about 20 degrees, pineapple sage is worth planting each spring in areas where it fails to return for another season. If grown in sandy or otherwise sharply drained soil, pineapple sage may tolerate colder temperatures, going dormant and sprouting new growth in spring.
Pineapple sage requires a place in the sunshine where the soil is well drained but moist and rich enough to support its rapid growth. Space plants 18 inches apart, and place them behind plants that would be blocked from view by the soon-to-be 3½-foot-tall plant. Fertilize at planting with timed-released granules. These should carry the plant through the season.
Keep plants watered the first couple of weeks after planting. After that, no special attention is needed except for watering during drought. However, if the soil is heavy and wet, the plant may die. Although drainage is essential during the growing season, it is most important during the winter if you want plants to return in spring.
Pineapple sage is primarily used fresh. Cuttings are easy to root if you want to have more or keep a plant indoors for replanting in spring.
Use leaves in cool drinks and fruit salads. The red flowers are nice tossed into a green salad.
Is pineapple sage used the same way as my other sage?
Do butterflies like pineapple sage?
Why is my pineapple sage blooming this spring if it’s supposed to bloom in fall?