I fell in love with pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) the moment I first saw, or rather, smelled it years ago. The freshness of the green leaves and brightness of its red flowers, which draw in hummingbirds from late summer well into fall, are really only secondary to its chief attraction for me – its tangy, fruity scent. While some that I’ve grown have had to be replaced (in zone eight) after a particularly cold season, many have over-wintered and I’m happy for them as long as they last.
Tangerine sage, a similar variety, smells just ever so slightly of its namesake, although to be honest it’s still a bit pineapple-y. Its leaves are more rounded than the typical S. elegans pointed ones. I have a golden pineapple sage growing in my parking strip, but the tangerine is struggling along next to the cedar tree up by the house, which is a spot where many a plant has met its end due to intense root competition:
Even if my climate required it to be an annual, I’d still grow this cutie. Its leaves and flowers are edible and I sometimes put them in salads or snip them as a garnish for goat cheese. There’s almost no other smell in my garden that gives me such a good feeling when I give it a sniff on my way past.