My Favorite Fall Herb: Pineapple Sage

Published on October 06, 2014
Written by Becky Rogers

Pineapple sage is one of my favorite herbs all year round, but in the fall, she shows her beautiful autumn display, joining the many other breathtaking displays that nature has to offer!

Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is a fragrant flowering plant native to Mexico and Guatemala, where it grows naturally in the forests of oaks and pine trees. Here in the Appalachians, it is only an annual plant because it cannot tolerate the cold.

The leaves of the pineapple sage are bright green and fuzzy, and at this late time of year, the plant blooms a beautiful red fragrant flower. Hummingbirds love this flower, but they are leaving our Appalachian mountains by the time it start blooming.

Pineapple sage is edible and often grows to heights higher than five feet. Bruising or tearing the leaves releases a sweet pineapple flavor that is refreshing when added to teas, salads, pesto, chicken or desserts.

Care for a Cup of Tea?

Add equal parts of fresh pineapple sage leaves and lemon verbena to a large glass jar. Fill with water. Set the jar in the sun and brew yourself a natural and refreshing glass of tea. The tasty drink is wonderful hot or cold.

Pineapple sage also is used extensively in Mexican traditional medicine, especially for the treatment of anxiety and lowering blood pressure. Use the flavorful herb sprinkled on fruit and vegetable salads or in salsa. Crush it as a topping on your homemade pizza.

Growing Pineapple Sage

If you don’t have any pineapple sage this year, don’t worry. Make a note to plant it in your herb garden next year. The flowering herb prefers direct sunlight for at least six hours a day and well-drained, rich soil. You must remember to regularly water the sage or it will droop when exposed to excessive dry heat.

Plants need at least four feet of space to grow properly and you may need to stake the plants as they reach their full potential. Use a 12–14-inch pot if you plan to grow the plant on your deck or patio and move the pots indoors because the herb doesn’t tolerate freezing.

Until then, you can pick up fresh pineapple sage in specialty stores.