Pineapple Sage STILL isn't blooming

Fleur(z5)August 27, 2011

I bought 4 pineapple sage plants last spring. Three are in pots and one is in the ground. They are SUPPOSED to have bright red flowers that are attractive to hummingbirds. There is still no sign of flower stalks forming and it's getting pretty late in the season for my zone 5. If they don't bloom, can I take cuttings and overwinter them in a greenhouse? Does anyone have suggestions of how I can speed up bloom this season?

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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

Well, I'm Sunset zone 23, or otherwise zone Pineapple Sage isn't flowering, either. It's not time for it to flower. Quoting Betsy Clebsch from New Book of Salvias:

"Among the last sages to come into bloom before the end of autumn is the herbaceous perennial Salvia elegans. Seeing it bloom is a treat because the plant is cut down in most winters by cold weather before it can flower"......"if salvia elegans is to flower, it needs an area with mild winters...."

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 4:07PM
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Try to obtain Salvia elegans 'Honey Melon'.......this has lovely fruit-scented foliage, and flowers from mid-summer onwards, in the UK. Unlike others such as 'Golden Delicious' which, over here gorgeous foliage notwithstanding, only shows its first buds when frost approaches!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 4:48PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23) Golden Delicious has no buds yet either....

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 6:38PM
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Edie(5 NY (Finger Lakes))

Fleur, did your S. elegans bloom?

I bought a Golden Delicious this spring for the amazing leaves. It's mostly a foliage plant here but I was still hoping to see those red blossoms. The plant is huge, but no buds. My average first fall frost is September 30th, so it may not flower at all for me. I haven't seen the hummingbirds since equinox. I think they've already migrated south.

I also had Salvia "Black and Blue" this year and that's much better about blooming during hummingbird season. I wintered over my one from last year indoors in the living room. Bought a second plant from the greenhouse because the original plant woke up so slowly I wasn't sure it would survive. My second-year plant eventually was bigger and more floriferous, but the newly purchased one bloomed weeks earlier.

For this reason I don't think *I* can get pineapple sage to bloom earlier by wintering it over, but then I don't have a greenhouse. You might be able to, if it's just a matter of the age and size of the plant. I have a fuzzy recollection of reading something about bloom time being influenced by daylight length, though, and that's more of a challenge.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 4:15PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

I'm in sub-tropical SoCal and my Pineapple Sage just this week has one blossom on it. This is when it starts to flower. I could be wrong, but I don't know if you'll get earlier blooms by wintering it over....

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 9:00PM
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The darn sage still hasn't bloomed. I may try to overwinter one in a planter in my greenhouse but that's iffy. I don't know if I'll be able to water it when the snow is deep and I can't reach the gh.

I had a lovely electric blue annual (Oceana Blue) that I bought last year. It reseeded and it's going gangbusters. The color is amazing.

Meanwhile, if you care to look, I have a bunch of garden giggles in my hen and chicken garden at the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Just for fun

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 11:10AM
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Pineapple Sage was very popular in the old days when we didn't have so many summer blooming salvia choices. I agree with Robin about Honeymelon being a better choice for northern gardeners, Tangerine is another. With the old type you could almost predict the first frost by its first bloom - exactly 2 days later.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 1:05PM
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I grew Salvia elegans for two years, especially for the hummingbirds. My recommendation is, especially if you are North of my zone 7a at least - don't. If growing it for the hummers alone, that is. My hummers are always gone before it blooms, so for that purpose, it's a waste of time and money. There are many other Salvias that will bloom way before time for the hummers to migrate South that the hummingbirds adore. I grow Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red' in particular for the hummingbirds, which blooms moderately from mid summer to its heaviest bloom in early fall.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 8:05AM
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When I grew my pineapple salvia about 1 ft. from the house facing west, it was doing well in the west sun even when we had frost. Part of it was frost bit but the rest of it was blooming throughout the holiday season. It attracted a hummingbird who came to feed on it everyday. They I moved it away from the house, it did not do well. The first frost would kill it.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 3:58PM
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Mine has been blooming like crazy for about 3 weeks. Looks great with my Montauk Daisies, great color for a time of year when nearly everything is done.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 12:46PM
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desertsage(7b USDA Sunset 10)

My S.elegans in containers has, been blooming for 3 weeks now. My S.elegans in the ground that has been there for 3 years nada. I think it has been over shaded by S.greggii "Hotlips", and Black and Blue. I may have to dig it up and move it into more sun. Well that gives me something to do in the Spring.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 8:03PM
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Edie(5 NY (Finger Lakes))

I didn't know about "Honey Melon." I'll have to find one for next year, thank you Robin!

Our first frost was late this year and I did get to see "Golden Delicious" bloom in the second half of October. Wow! It's a wonderful finale to the bloom season. The coleus that was next to it froze into mush, but the sage was still gorgeous yesterday. Last night's cold might have finished it off, but I have a cutting indoors so I can keep enjoying the scented leaves.

Fleur, your chicken garden is very clever. :-) Thanks for the link.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 11:59AM
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I planted four Pineapple Sage plants (Golden Delicious) this summer and was disappointed that they haven't bloomed. Imagine my surprise this morning when I noticed buds all over the plants ready to pop into bloom! We're having a beautiful October in the Tualatin Valley and the fall sun seems to be bringing out the glory of these lovely plants!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 2:55PM
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annieinaustin(z8 Austin)

In my limited experience growing Pineapple sage (only IL & TX), daylength has been the trigger for bloom. They never seem to start budding until just before the autumnal equinox.

Sometimes when you buy plants in spring they were already a decent size in the greenhouse at the time of the vernal equinox. Those plants are often are in bud/bloom when you buy them and they'll keep blooming for awhile. But once they stop, only the arrival of fall will get them to flower again.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 1:05PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Taking cuttings of big plants in early spring or autumn often sacrifices bloom on the big plants. However, if the cuttings root quickly, they will often bloom instead.

This is especially true for late blooming sages.

Long-day blooming sages are not as susceptible to temperature effects on the timing of bloom as short-day blooming sages.

I've seen season momentum like effects on blooming, which seem to happen when the jet stream stalls and extended abnormally hot or cold patterns occur as much as two to three months previous to the anticipated bloom time. I haven't seen a "normal" blooming season for many years.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 11:52PM
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