Pineapple Sage

One of my favorite plants in our yard is a Pineapple Sage.  I bought a tiny 4″ pot of this beautiful herb about 5 years ago and it has been my Autumn delight ever since.   Here it is in situ in what we call the Bird Bed out back (so named for the feeders):

Pineapple Sage is the Autumn star of the "bird bed" out back.
Pineapple Sage is the Autumn star of the “bird bed” out back.  The bare spots in the bed are where the deer hit us especially hard this year.
I can't believe this huge shrub comes up from nothing every year!
I can’t believe this huge shrub comes up from nothing every year!

Pineapple Sage is a tender perennial in our area (zone 7), but this little guy is a champ.  After a few hard frosts the leaves dry up and fall off.  However, you must wait till Spring to cut the plant back to prevent the cut stems from rotting and killing the root system.  As the days lengthen and warm, a few leaves will peek out of the soil and then it is GAME ON!  One year we tried to “contain” it by pruning it hard in July, but this plant wants to be the size it wants to be.  If you don’t have a good 6 feet to give it, don’t bother.

Pineapple Sage enjoys plenty of sun and consequently plenty of water.  This bed is on our irrigation system, but this plant still requires a little hand watering because it needs more water than anyone else in the bed.  During late Spring and Summer this herb provides a lush green background to all the Mints, Salvias and Agastaches in the foreground.  When those plants slow down or stop blooming in Autumn,  Pineapple Sage sets its blossoms and takes center stage, providing our grateful Hummingbirds with a few last meals before they head back south.

This herb is edible, and can be used to flavor salads or cakes/cookies, to make tea or simple syrup, and the blossoms can also be used as an edible garnish.  The flavor is delicate, floral and a bit like pineapple (hence the name).  Pineapple Sage is quite disease resistant – we have had no problems with voles or deer eating the plant, nor any funguses or any of the other usual complaints in our hot, humid climate – which means you won’t have to hit it with any chemicals, so munch away.

This plant is so beautiful and can be seen from all over the yard – for such a simple herb Pineapple Sage really can be the star of your Autumn garden.  As I was looking at the snaps I took today, I realized that these brilliant blossoms look like they are lifting their hands and singing praises to their Creator:  “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well” Psalm 139:14  Amen!


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