Caring for pineapple sage - How to water, fertilize and cut it properly


It's fun watching the pineapple sage grow. Because the plant is extremely robust, smells wonderful and is also easy to care for.

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Pineapple sage (Salvia rutilans) grows to a height of one meter in summer and inspires with pretty, scarlet flowers that exude a beguiling scent. And without any major maintenance. If you do everything right when planting the pineapple sage, you won't have much to do with care. We have put together for you what you need to consider when caring for the plant from the highlands of Mexico and Guatemala in general. But first of all we would like to introduce you to two more great sage varieties.

Briefly introduced sage species

In addition to the pineapple sage described here, two other varieties should be mentioned, which can be cultivated similarly and maybe used as a supplement or for group plantings.

❍ Salvia elegans:

This is the honeydew melon sage. This variety is slightly behind the pineapple sage in growth, but also spreads a particularly intense fruity fragrance.

❍ Salvia dorisiana:

This fruit sage surprises with its pink and purple flowers, which appear in January. This type of sage also has a strong and aromatic fragrance, which in this case is less reminiscent of pineapple but more of fruit candy.

Water the pineapple sage properly

The pineapple sage loves it moist, but can't take wet feet. This suggests that a bit of dexterity will be necessary to properly water the plant. Regular and well-dosed watering is important. The earth must never dry out. However, there should be no waterlogging. This would quickly cause the roots to rot.

You can prevent standing moisture by loosening the ground in the field with coarse sand and creating a drainage of pottery shards in the bucket.

Properly fertilize pineapple sage

Pineapple sage should be fertilized regularly during the growing season. It is advisable to use an organic liquid fertilizer every month. This is easy to dose and can simply be added to the irrigation water. Pineapple sage is not fertilized during the winter half year.

Container plants require a particularly large number of nutrients. If the pineapple sage is in the bucket, it can also be fertilized weekly in summer.

Cut pineapple sage

Cut back the pineapple sage in spring, it stimulates growth and blooming. The pruning should be about a hand's breadth above the ground and should not be carried out into the old wood.

If necessary, pruning measures can also be carried out throughout the year, because the plant is quite well tolerated by pruning. In this way, shoots that appear too long can be shortened or dry and old branches can be removed. With a little skill, the pineapple sage can also be cut into shape, whereby not only the formation of a pretty crown is a declared goal, but also shapes such as cascades or pyramids are possible.

Plant pineapple sage in a tub

The plants originating from Central America are cultivated preferentially in containers in Germany. There are a few things to consider:

Choice of planter:

You have to put the pineapple sage in a sufficiently large planter. The plants grow quite quickly, so a planter with about ten liters and more content is much more suitable than small and cramped plant pots, which limit the sage's joy in growing and must be renewed regularly.

Choice of substrate:

When choosing the substrate, the plants are not very demanding. It is important that you ensure a permeable soil, because waterlogging quickly causes root rot. By incorporating a drainage on the bottom of the vessel, the soil permeability is improved. The ideal substrate consists of clay soil that has been enriched with compost and made more permeable with coarse sand.

Site selection:

For the container plant, you should choose a location in partial shade. The plant has no objection to the morning and evening sun. The pineapple sage needs protection from the blazing midday sun.


Care should not be neglected. In the bucket, the pineapple sage relies on regular watering and during the growth phase also on sufficient fertilizer. When temperatures approach freezing, the container plant moves to a frost-free winter area in the stairwell, an unheated room or the winter garden.

Pineapple sage outdoors and tubs: the advantages and disadvantages

Pineapple sage outdoors+ easy care
+ good growing conditions
+ decorative bedding plant
- not hardy
- more susceptible to pests
Pineapple sage in a bucket+ practical
+ variable positioning
+ suitable for balcony / terrace
- higher maintenance effort
- More prone to waterlogging

This way you can avoid maintenance errors

The robust pineapple sage is satisfied with different locations and soil conditions and also forgives some maintenance mistakes. But in the wrong location, the plant grows less abundantly and also lacks the wonderfully intense fragrance. However, if you notice waterlogging too late, this often means the end of the plant. If the roots are attacked and start to rot, there is no salvation for the plant if you do not react quickly.

What harms the pineapple sage the most?