All summer long the pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) grows without blooming. As a perennial in our climate, summer is its time to finish growing back from the annual "haircut" it gets in January or February when I cut it back almost all the way down to the ground. This bush has been in the ground for about 10 years and does better with the severe once-a-year prune as opposed to lighter more frequent pruning.
In autumn, when the rest of the flowers in the gardens have faded and fallen, the pineapple sage puts on its show. Dazzlingly bright scarlet trumpet flowers bloom and adorn the bushes from mid-October until often well into holiday season between American Thanksgiving and Christmas. In years past I've cut large sprigs off to decorate my Thanksgiving table.
This year, I tried growing pineapple sage in a pot on the deck outside my studio window, so I'd have hummingbirds there too like I used to before the deck was constructed a couple of years ago. The bush in the pot struggled throughout the summer but bounced back in September and is blooming nonetheless.
The pineapple sage comes by its name honestly. If you crush a leaf in your hand and hold it to your nose you can smell the tropical sweetness of pineapples.
The blooms must also be full of sweetness because the hummingbirds love them. Many a fight breaks out in the air over the pineapple sage as our Anna's hummingbirds refuse to share the bounty nicely.
This little gal didn't have to share this afternoon. Lucky her.