Pineapple sage is an herbaceous perennial with scarlet red flowers, growing 1.2 to 1.5 meters. The ovate leaves are a grey-green colour, with some people describing them as having a yellow tinge. They are quite large at 5-10 cm and end in a point. The oppositely positioned leaves are covered in small hairs and distinctly veined. The leaves remain scented all year and crushing them releases the best scent.
The flowers are a distinct scarlet red colour and they grow in whorls of 6-12 flowers on inflorescences. The have a tubular appearance and are about 2.5 cm long, with two distinct lips. The lower positioned flowers open first and then the others gradually follow, over a long autumn blooming period. Pineapple sage is a short-day plant, which means it requires a longer period of darkness and flowers as the days grow shorter.
Pineapple sage develops a dense, rounded form and produces numerous leafy, erect stems and lateral branches that hold the striking red, flower spikes. As the season progresses the stem becomes woody and the roots extend deeper underground forming a large clump.
This sage is native to Mexico and Guatemala and is found growing naturally in the temperate, pine oak forests at 1800-2700 meters above sea level. It is a great butterfly and bird attractant, with studies indicating it is one of the local hummingbirds? three most commonly visited plants.
Like all sages, pineapple sage is visually appealing and may be grown as a nice addition to the garden. However, it does also have some culinary applications and was used for traditional medicine by Mexicans. Salvias have a long history of being used for many medical conditions. The genus name ?Salvia? is derived from ?salvere?, which is Latin for ?to save?.
Pineapple sage requires a well-drained soil, with a good nutrient base. If your soil is sandy, it may be suitable to add some organic matter. Pineapple sage does need regular watering and may wilt on hot days if this is lacking. Unlike some other herbs, it should recover once watered. As one of the taller herbs, pineapple sage can have a tendency for straggly branches and may benefit from staking and wind protection