Actual hardiness of pineapple sage and salvia coccinea?

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

I know neither is listed as hardy to zone 7b. I also know sometimes that plants are hardier than listed. What has been your experience with either pant, especially in zone 7b or colder?

Candor, NC

I used to live in Pleasant Garden, south of Greensboro, in Guilford County. Pineapple sage may overwinter by layering, and if mulched with leaves in a suitable microclimate.

S, coccinea survives by reseeding, though this can take place late in the season. You may get hybrids if you have more than one type. I'd collect seed from the more desirable specimens. They can be kept in a greenhouse over the winter.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Ditto on the S. coccinea here in 7a. Flower size and color seems to be variable. The hummers and butterflies love it.

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

Rich, I was just in Pleasant Garden yesterday with a friend, buying 3 and 5-cent seeds at Dollar General. :)

Thanks, both of you! I only have red coccinea. I would certainly welcome other colors, though. :) I will definitely mulch the pineapple sage. What do you meany by layering?

Candor, NC

Layering is what tropical plants especially are prone to when their stems lie along the ground. Low branches in relatively humid spots send out roots to work their way into the soil they are resting on..

Lizella, GA(Zone 8a)

My pineapple sage seems to be layering also and reseeding. And I have some in greenhouse that rooted down and just keep growing every year. Love the smell when I step on them...

Belton, TX

We're in 8/8b and have never been able to keep Pineapple Sage viable out of a greenhouse over the winter -- and we have had a few very mild winters...

We also planted Salvia coccinea in OKC, which is zone 6 and it does well...and in a mild winter remains evergreen....the zone 6 plants only get about 3' tall at maturity, but manage to get more than 6' in 8/8b...

Arlington, TX

I haven't had either over winter, even when we really didn't get a winter, at least not on their own without help. S. coccinea seeds with such intensity I consider it a weed in my yard and pull up dozens of unwanted volunteers each year.

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks, everyone! At this point, they are all gone....well, above-ground. I have lots of chopped leaves on them. I hope that helps. I do have a lot of coccinea seeds, at least. I only paid $1 each for the pineapple sage, so it was worth one season, if that is all I get. Here is to hoping, though! :)

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

I have 2 types of salvia coccinea that survived the polar vortex colds we had the last couple of days. Our temps got down to freezing with a windchill in the 20's.

Found both of them blooming today.


Thumbnail by shauna1219 Thumbnail by shauna1219
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

shauna -- glad to hear. I'm hoping to have them year round. I'll be a tad north and east of you. Zone 9a i believe.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Mine overwintered last year, but not this year! We had a hard freeze after our last snowstorm and that was it.

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

Shauna, that is awesome! I bet my coccinea will not. It has been way colder than normal! On the bright side, I have lots of seeds. :)

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

I am shocked! Despite the insane winter, I see shoots coming out of each pineapple sage. I am sooo excited! :):):):)

Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

Carolinaflower, glad to hear your pineapple sage is coming back.

Iowa City, IA(Zone 5a)

Here in 5A I planted a pineapple sage late last summer. We had a long, brutal winter, but it came back! It is in a sheltered spot on some tree roots slope getting afternoon sun.

Camilla, GA(Zone 8a)

I am in zone 8 in southwest Georgia.. coccinea spreads like a weed for me to the point of being invasive.. As for the Pineapple Sage, I have lost many over the years, some make it during a mild winter but they do not ever look as good as that first year.. I treat them as an annual.


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Larkie -- thanks for that info on the Pineapple sage... i will be zone9, so I too may have to treat it as an annual.

And I have a NoID agastache [tiny baby blue blooms] ... it popped up out of no where about 6 yrs ago, and now it's everywhere.... I love it, but now I do not hesitate to pull it out in handfuls.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

We hardly had a frost, but mine is gone. I will consider it an annual here, too! The year before we had a hard frost, but they survived. Go figure....

Candor, NC

Some of the hardy instances of pineapple sage occur because stems have layered themselves and formed a younger, more vital root crown. Old crowns tend to choke themselves off by forcing its vascular system to work harder through all that old tissue, which also has a tendency to rot. Plants like pineapple sage move around a lot in nature, trying to find spots in soil where nutrients are freshly available. Finding spots with suitable drainage and mulching by the collection of wind blown debris are also part of the evolved survival strategy.

The challenge of gardening calls for the right balance of control and wildness, including garden design.

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

I am sorry to hear others lost their pineapple sage. :( At least in the spring, Lowes has pineapple sage in their herb section for under $4. :)

Rich, that is interesting! I will have to look at mine more closely to see if that is what happened.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Rich - Yes, thank you for addressing the real reason for the demise of the pineapple sage. We had a mild winter last year, but the two of mine that were growing did not survive. When I plant them again, I shall keep the drainage in mind.

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

Rich, do black and blues do that, also? I had a huge one last year. It looked pretty awful this year. The stems right around the old crown are stripped of leaves. A few inches behind it, though, are a few nice-looking stems.

Candor, NC

Straight guaraniticas send out stolons parallel with the surface underground like mints. They are subject to attack by voles, which eat the tubers, which is why I work crushed rock or, better, pellets of expanded slate/shale into the soil, since moles will go elsewhere for worms and beetle grubs, and the voles, who use mole tunnels, are weak diggers.

Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6a)

I had 4 planted on top of a stone wall. Only 1 survived last Winter which was the worst for me in the last 20 years in USDA zone 6. they might be hardier if the winter was not so severe.

Candor, NC

Planting on the top of a stone wall probably is a problem because that site is exposed to scouring Arctic winds, and is susceptible to radiational cooling as well.

That's a good site for rock garden plants, which will send down tap roots and form a durable crown within cracks between rocks.

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