How To Grow and Cook Pineapple Sage

August 17, 2011


Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) is one of my (many) favourite herbs. I’ve been able to grow and propagate this plant quite easily but I am often asked by others why their plant’s leaves have turned brown/fallen off/wilted/it hasn’t survived as well as their other varieties of Sage.

There are many reasons these problems could occur but the main one to remember is that this is a tender evergreen perennial herb and really prefers to be outside in natural sunlight (preferably in a sheltered position for example near the house) during the late spring/summer and indoors into a cool room during the late autumn/winter where it will give you some spectacular flowers at a time of year when most herbs are not in flower. You can also rub the leaves to get their wonderful scent.

Other possible reasons for problems include over watering, sudden changes in temperature (eg when moving the plant from outside to a warm room inside), Leaf eelworm and red spider mites.

The leaves are similar in shape to the more common sage (Salvia officinalis) and it is part of the mint family and is sometimes known as scarlet pineapple. It has lovely tubular deep pink flowers in the winter and brightens up any room or conservatory in the early to mid winter. The leaves have the most delicious pineapple scent when you rub them gently. It is native to the highlands of Mexico and Guatemala.

Propagating Pineapple Sage

I have many pineapple sage plants grown from cuttings mainly because I tried it once a few years ago and it was so easy to do and other members of my family wanted the plant because of its scent and it proved popular when I sold herb plants on stalls in the past.

Now is a good time to get some cuttings established. All you need to do is fill a pot with a mix of equal quantities of compost/soil and sand, the important point is that it drains freely. Water the soil in the pot before putting the cuttings in. The cuttings from the main plant should be about 15 to 20 cm long from a healthy shoot (if it is late in the season and about to flower, pinch out the shoot to encourage root growth). Remove the lower leaves so that once you push the stem into the soil no leaves are in the soil where they could rot. Always use a sharp knife/secateurs to take the cutting.

As soon as you’ve taken the cuttings, push in three to five of them around the edge of the pot(s) and keep the soil damp but not wet. Leave in a cool, frost free place away from direct sunlight. In about a month you should have new growth.

Apparently you can also root cuttings in water but I’ve yet to try this although I know that method works well with rosemary.

Once they become established, make sure you pinch out the tops to encourage branching otherwise it will just get tall with very few leaves.

Cooking With Pineapple Sage

The leaves can be used in your cooking in the following ways:

  • added to fruit salads or salads
  • brewed as a refreshing tea
  • added to chicken or pork recipes for a pineapple flavour
  • try chopped in sponge cakes for flavour and scent
  • add to drinks as you would with mint leaves
  • make pineapple sage syrup to use on pancakes, waffles, fruit salads, ice cream
  • make pineapple sage flavoured jelly
  • try it in a banana smoothie with a dash of cinnamon
  • Pineapple Sage Pound Cake is still on my list to try out too!

    { 1 trackback }

    Heuristic Spot | How To Grow and Cook Pineapple Sage
    07.21.12 at 3:54 pm

    { 7 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Amanda 08.30.11 at 5:29 pm

    This is great information. We are testing some sage plants for cold tolerance here. We’re not super cold, but at 3500 feet and we do get down into the single digits. So far they are doing better than I would have guessed/
    Amanda recently posted..Freezing Green Peppers

    2 Herbal treatment for psoriasis 09.23.11 at 2:01 pm

    What a fascinating herb, I had no idea this existed – but sounds fabulous. I recently put some pineapple chunks in a cake and it went down a treat, this sounds great! I will have to try and find some – is it available in the UK do you know?
    Herbal treatment for psoriasis recently posted..Psoriasis Skin Care

    3 Lisa 11.10.11 at 8:11 pm

    I love using pineapple sage but had no idea of all of the others uses of it. I tried it as tea and it was just wonderful.

    4 Carol 12.13.11 at 10:25 pm

    If you like Pineapple sage, you may want to try out other varieties of sage such as Honeydew Sage and Fruit Sage, although they do not have the culinary uses of the Pineapple sage, their fragrance is wonderful. These varieties of Sage also have very pretty flowers similar to the Pineapple Sage, particularly the Fruit Sage.

    5 Steve 01.23.12 at 6:57 am

    I really want to grow pineapple sage. Sages are such a wonderful edition to the garden. Hopefully this year will be the year. Thank you for your post.

    6 Sherylanne 02.25.12 at 2:44 am

    I have found pineapple sage too strong for tea, but just right on a pork roast. Will have to try on pancakes..and maybe on a pizza with ham.

    7 Danielle 05.25.12 at 7:51 pm

    I love your blog! I wanted to let you know that this summer the company I work for is hosting a photo contest via our Facebook page. It’s free to enter and the prize is really cool! :)

    This is a video I made explaining the contest: http://youtu.be/A9i6VmpGSCg

    Each month we will choose a different theme for the photo contest. Participants will take a picture that applies to the selected theme and then submit it to us to be included in the contest’s photo album. The picture with the most “likes” at the end of the month will win an awesome prize.

    This month’s theme is “herb gardens.” Contestants submitting pictures of their homegrown herb garden, no matter how big or small, will be encouraged to participate. The prize for this month’s contest will be a set of five custom garden markers crafted from re-purposed vintage spoons.

    Jen Matlack, the featured artist donating the prize for this competition, collects vintage spoons and then applies hand drawn images using archival ink, hand-colored, and sealed twice with a moisture and UV-resistant finish. Each spoon is a unique work of art that we here at FOG simple adore.

    This is our Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/FLOrganicGrowers

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    Awesome work! I can’t wait for more. :)

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