Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pineapple Sage

By Stephanie Rukowicz

For the past two years I have been in charge of planting and maintaining the herb bed at my community garden. The varieties are typically predetermined by a group vote at the beginning of the season. This year, in addition to the usual suspects, a new garden member suggested pineapple sage (Salvia elegans).

He planted a 3” pot in early spring and the plant grew as quickly as he described. In just one season this sage grew quite large, taking over its corner of the bed and spilling out into the walking path. Unlike common sage that flowers in Spring, this sage variety flowers at the end of the season (photo taken in mid-October).
Pineapple sage grown from 3" pot in Spring, now enormous and flowering end of season (mid-October).

The tubular red flowers are quite decorative and delicious. I can see why some gardeners use them in salads. The community garden member who planted this salvia recommended using its leaves for tea. I brewed a cup using 4-5 leaves in boiled water, steeping about five minutes. I find it quite tasty.  

Herbal tea made from pineapple sage leaves. Brewed and consumed hot.

What a great idea this author had to use it in a container planting. With pretty foliage all summer long, and then beautiful red flowers give the container Fall interest (and Fall food for pollinators) as well.

The extension information available through Penn State also note another use: in ornamental wreaths. The foliage would be fragrant and beautiful.

  • Culinary
  • Cut Flowers
  • Containers (foliage throughout summer, flowers in fall)
  • Pollinator food in Fall (hummingbird, honey bees, butterflies)
  • Ornamental wreaths
  • Dry to use for potpourri 
  • Teas 

Bonnie Plants answers the question:
“Is pineapple sage used the same way as my other sage?
Pineapple sage and common sage are related. They are both salvias. Here the resemblance ends. They don’t look alike or grow alike, and they certainly do not taste the same. Consequently, their uses are different. While common sage is well known for its contribution to sausage, poultry dishes, and herb blends, pineapple sage is appealing in fruit and sweet dishes. It has a pineapple-like scent. In addition, the autumn flowers give it an ornamental role in the garden.”

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