It is so cold and windy today that I couldn’t get an in-focus picture of the pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) in my front bed. Here it is Oct. 9, and this plant is finally starting to bloom. Pineapple sage is a fall bloomer, but this one took a very long time to show any color. I’m not sure why, except that the start I planted last May or early June came from a supplier whose plants all took a long time to get going in the garden. (A tomato from the same company never did ripen fruit on the vine, though I have a few tomatoes ripening on the kitchen counter now.) Searching the internet for the name on the plant label, it comes up with nothing. Clearly, the label is just that–a label for plants grown by a mystery company. Several garden center owners have told me that many plants travel long distances in the spring, so it may be that my pineapple sage grew up down south and just couldn’t take it when it got to Minnesota. It’s a good reason to buy from local sources so you know where the plants were started.
Pineapple sage is a lovely plant. It’s a zone 8 perennial, but many people grow it as an annual in northern climates. The leaves have a rich, pineapple aroma, and some people make a tea with them. The bright red, trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds, though not on a day like today. It is said to take-root easily from a cutting, so I may try to overwinter some in my house and try again next year.