I always forget how late pineapple sage, or salvia elegans, blooms. It doesn’t get going until October here in Rhode Island. Of course, the foliage of this plant, a perennial in Zones 8 to 10, is worthy of admiration with or without the flowers. As the name implies, pineapple sage smells like pineapple, and its leaves are sometimes used in herbal teas or as cocktail garnishes.
For those of you who have never grown it, this is what pineapple sage looks like in the flower bed. It needs full sun and good drainage, and it has a relaxed but not sprawling habit, growing up to 4 feet tall. I’ve read that gardeners in Zones 7 and even 6 have kept theirs alive over the winter by mulching the crowns and crossing their fingers. I’m in Zone 7 so I’m going to try to overwinter mine.
Of course the Ruby Throated hummingbirds have left by the time this plant begins to flower (irony!)) but I figured passing stragglers would be drawn to the strong red flowers. I haven’t seen any hummers in the plants, though.