Plantidote of the Day 2010-09-23
Common name: Pineapple sage
Family: Lamiaceae (Mint)
This particular pineapple sage was bought on a whim while raiding the local garden store's catnip plant stock. A few months ago, it was just a few inches high. Now it's about 12” tall and I've started two more plants from cuttings. (The process could not be easier. Just break off 4” to 6” from the tip of a branch, remove the lowest leaves and stick the stem in water. Roots appear in a few days.)
No green thumb? No problem! Pineapple sage is ridiculously easy to grow. These plants thrive without much attention, just some bright light and a little water.
And then there's the fragrance. Pinch off a leaf, squish it a little in your hand and it releases the scent of fresh pineapple – amazing! The leaves and flowers, which have a sweet, minty flavor, can be used in food and beverages. Plus, bees, hummingbirds and butterflies love pineapple sage flowers.
In zones 8 through 11, pineapple sage is considered a tender perennial, and an annual everywhere else. So if you live in an area where winters are mild, the plants can stay outside, where they can grow as high as three or four feet. If there's a danger of frost, either grow it in a pot and bring indoors until the weather warms up or keep a few cuttings in the house through the winter and plant them in the garden in spring.
(Note: Pineapple sage is a cousin of salvia divinorum, the psychoactive variety, but does not contain the hallucinogenic ingredient, salvinorin A. Sorry!)
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