Pineapple sage Salvia elegans
What’s an autumn garden without annuals? This sage may be hardy where you live, but for many gardeners it’s an annual. The flowers come late, after a long season of heat. But when they open, the hummingbirds are ready and waiting. The birds are especially attracted to red flowers with a deep throat — exactly what this sage has.
If you like to overwinter plants, this one is quite easy. Dig and pot it up before a frost. Use a large plastic pot and a general-purpose potting mix. Water thoroughly, but don’t feed it. At this point you can keep pineapple sage growing in a sunny window or let it go dormant in a dark, frost-free basement. Keep it barely moist. About six weeks before your last frost date, start watering. Move it out in spring when you’re ready to plant your other tender annuals.
TYPE Annual BLOOM Bright red from late summer through fall LIGHT Full sun SOIL Moist, well-drained PESTS None SIZE 3 to 4 ft. tall, 2 to 3 ft. wide HARDINESS Cold: USDA zones 8 to 10 Heat: AHS zones 12 to 1
TRY THESE! Golden yellow foliage ‘Golden Delicious’ (in photo) Dark green leaves, crimson flowers Common species Peach-red flowers ‘Frieda Dixon’
Want more colorful fall plants? Check out Autumn GardenScapes, Volume 2, at right!