Synonyms of Salvia elegans (7) (Updated on 12-1-21 from Plants of the World Online): Salvia camertonii Regel, Salvia incarnata Cav., Salvia longiflora Sessé & Moc., Salvia microcalyx Scheele, Salvia microculis Poir., Salvia punicea M.Martens & Galeotti, Salvia rutilans Carrière
Salvia elegans Vahl is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Salvia. It was named and described by Martin (Henrichsen) Vahl in Enumeratio Plantarum in 1804.
The genus, Salvia L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
As of 12-1-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 1,010 species in the Salvia genus. It is a member of the plant family Lamiaceae with 233 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
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I brought this Salvia elegans (Pineapple Sage) home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in the spring of 2015. It turned out to be one of the most AWESOME plants I have grown.
I placed it in the north bed on the right side of the porch not realizing what a showstopper it would become.
Salvia elegans is considered a tender perennial in USDA Zones 8-11, but here it has to be grown as an annual. They work fine in average, well-drained soil and are only fairly drought tolerant. They do best in fertile, well-drained soil that is consistently moist. I amend the beds every few years with “The Good Stuff” (which is decomposed cow manure and hay from where I feed the cows that has decomposed for a year or so).
Zones: USDA Zones 8a-11 (10 to 40° F/-12.2 to 4.5° F).
Size: 36 to 48” tall x 24-36 PLUS” wide.
Light: Prefers full sun but likes afternoon shade in the heat of the summer.
Soil: Average, well-drained.
Water: Average. Drought tolerant once established but prefers regular watering.
Where the Salvia elegans are perennial, they spread by underground rhizomes. Some information online says plants can be cut back and potted to overwinter inside. You can also take cuttings in late summer to overwinter inside. They can be grown as a container plant which makes it easier to bring inside for the winter. If you take cuttings to overwinter, you may want to just root them in pots instead of having to dig them up to pot later.
The edible leaves have a pineapple scent and can be used in a number of recipes. Although this plant is fairly late to flower, the lush growth makes a nice looking plant before flowers appear. Salvia elegans is a multi-branched plant that will grow approximately 36-48” wide plus. You can pinch plants at a young age to make them bush out more for a denser, stronger growth habit. This may help in windy areas as the wind can damage plants.
The red flowers are also edible and favored by hummingbirds and butterflies. It is interesting to note that Salvia elegans are “short-day” plants so they may not flower where street or yard lights are present.
The Salvia elegans needed regular watering and the leaves will curl up and drop off if they don’t have enough.
There are several cultivars of Pineapple Sage available (even with gold leaves). Although they can also be grown from seed, it is more advisable to buy plants in the spring and set out after the last frost date.
Every year since I grew this plant I look for new plants at the local greenhouses but so far none have been available. I may have to buy seed and try or order plants online. Overwintering plants inside is not an option because I don’t have adequate conditions at the moment.
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