Salvia elegans, an Herb with Mass Appeal

I have been asked many times what my favourite herb is and, although there are many I love, I always respond “Pineapple Sage” or Salvia elegans. This tender perennial is a member of the Salvia family, has a wonderful pineapple taste and scent, and beautiful spiky red flowers. Our sage garden is the favourite stomping grounds of our hummingbird friends. Last week, as I was picking the flowers to add to my pineapple sage pound cake, which we serve in our Tea Room, two of them swooped past my face, as close as they could comfortably get to let me know I was intruding on their territory.

It is easy to take a cutting in the fall to ensure you have a succession of pineapple sage plants for next spring. Simply cut a piece about 3 inches long above a node and carefully cut off the bottom leaves, leaving two or 3 of the top leaves. Put in a pot with soil and then water well, keeping wet until rooted. Watch as the cutting takes root and begins to flourish. Once established put in a bigger pot on a sunny window ledge and wait until spring to plant outside.

Enjoy the leaves and flowers in muffins, loaves or a tea. Reap the benefits of this sweet herb, but do watch for hummingbirds!

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Most herbs do best if their flowers are picked off but pineapple sage flourishes with the flowers left on.

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