I Buy This Plant Every Spring—Here's Why You Need One, Too
This is Obsessed: my weekly column devoted to sharing all the things I'm loving right now—from unique food and gift ideas to travel destinations and beauty products—plus some tips and tricks for living your best life.
I enjoy growing herbs, and usually have a steady rotation of rosemary, parsley and thyme in my garden. Even though I love to cook and garden, I had never heard of pineapple sage (also called salvia elegans) until I discovered it at a spring plant sale a few years ago.
Now that I've grown it the past few summers, I'll never go without it again. Pineapple sage is a perennial shrub native to Mexico and Guatemala that's known for its pineapple-scented leaves and beautiful red flowers that attract pollinators. Its leaves have an herby and slightly sweet flavor that can be used to infuse iced tea, vinegar, honey or ice cubes. It's also delicious in cocktails and may be used as a flavorful mix-in for fruit salad.
I live in Birmingham, Alabama (zone 8a), and typically plant my pineapple sage after the cold winter weather has passed (for us, that's usually around the beginning of April). Pineapple sage will pretty much grow as large as you let it—these shrubs can reach up to 5 feet wide and tall—so I keep mine contained in medium-sized pots on my patio. As long as you have a sunny spot outside and water it about once a week, you can grow pineapple sage with ease.
This plant is incredibly low-maintenance, and it's a stunning addition to your summer porch. I love that it attracts pollinators to my garden, and I'll frequently find bees and butterflies perched on the flowers when the weather warms up. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to the red flowers, and the nectar is a great source of nourishment for them when food sources may be scarcer in the late summer and early fall.
Do yourself a favor and pick a few of these gorgeous plants up this year. Your local pollinators will thank you, and you'll love the color and pizzaz that pineapple sage brings to your garden. Just remember to plant them in pots if you don't want a full-on bush in your yard, and be sure to buy pineapple sage, because there are similar-looking plants that aren't edible (you can test this by rubbing the leaves between your fingers. If it smells like pineapple, you're good to go). Buy them: three plants for $25, Burpee.
Jaime Milan is EatingWell's senior digital editor for all things newsy and trending. She's always on the hunt for the latest and greatest things to share with EatingWell's readers. In her spare time, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen, tackling home projects with her husband or taking pics of her very photogenic American Eskimo Dog, Grits. Follow her on Instagram at @jaimemmilan.
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