It’s no secret that most salvia species are great nectar providers for butterflies and hummingbirds. One of my favorites is Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans), which is perfect for cool-season butterfly gardens in zones 8 – 11 because it only blooms as days grow short and nights grow long. In its native Mexico, it begins blooming August, but further north it may not bloom until September or later. Once it gets going, though, it blooms straight through till spring, unless killed to the ground by a freeze.
Butterflies and hummingbirds are drawn to the colorful nectar-rich flowers (in Mexico, it’s been noted as one of the three most popular hummingbird plants!), but people love this sage for the sweetly-scented foliage. The crushed leaf really does smell and even taste like pineapple, and it’s great in salads or teas.
Want to try it? Pineapple Sage is rarely grown from seed, so either buy it as a plant or start it from tip cuttings from a friend in the spring. One plant will spread and can be divided over the years as well. Grow it in full sun to part shade and water it well during dry periods. Treat it as a perennial in zones 8 – 11 (it will come back from the roots after a freeze), or as an annual in lower zones.
Do you grow Pineapple Sage for butterflies (or yourself)? Tell us about it in the comments!