Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

I'm planning plants for our new garden and Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is on the list--beautiful red tubular flowers, easy care, fragrant leaves for a tangy tea (said to be good for digestion, calming the nerves and promoting general health) and it feeds butterflies and hummingbirds. What more could a person ask?

Planted where it wants to grow and given a modicum of water, pineapple sage will bloom for months during warm-to-cool weather (in our region that's February/March-May/June and September/October-December/January), making it a welcome sight to spring hummingbird migrantslate-fall-migrating hummingbirds or overwintering hummers

This tender perennial in the mint family is reported to grow in zones 8a-11. Here in south-central Texas we're zone 9a and our sage stayed evergreen through mild winters, even flowering into January. Hard freezes took it back to the ground and a prolonged or deep freeze killed it. 

In the years I lost a plant, new ones sprouted in spring.  A fast-grower, the plants were bushy by fall bloom-time.
The best location for pineapple sage has morning sun and protection from blazing afternoon rays; good soil instead of our thin-clay-over-limestone strata, which means I'll build a raised bed and fill it with enriched, well-drained soil. The sage isn't a water hog but weekly deep waterings will help it during the scorch of summer.

In good conditions, plants will grow from three to four feet wide and high.

The only pests we ever had on the plants were deer. In years with good rain and plenty of food the deer left it alone.  But when times were hard, they nibbled it down.

Pregnant doe noshing on pink skullcap, another plant they typically don't eat.

I can't wait to look out my back windows and see flowers, butterflies and hummers this year. 

Maybe you'll find room in your yard for a bit of pineapple sage too. 

Copyright 2009-2015 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. How lovely Kathleen. I'm going to try again with some Salvia. I haven't had much luck up will now, but perhaps this will be my year!

  2. I tried pineapple sage out front where the conditions mirror precisely what you stated they do NOT like. Sure enough, I lost plant after plant. I ended up utilizing tropical sage (salvia coccinea) in those front spaces instead but always meant to try the pineapple out in a bed out back where I've amended the soil.

    Your photos are a great reminder and just the kick in the pants that I need. It is time to make a space for some pineapple sage here and sit back to wait for the winged appreciators to show later in the season. Thanks!

  3. So we'll have to make sure our deer are always (very) well fed so that they're not hungry enough to eat our plants.
    Take care, and enjoy your garden,


My readers are all geniuses. Can't wait to see what you have to say.