Pineapple Scented Salvia/Salvia elegans
The Pineapple Scented Salvia is a perennial of Mexican origin that is treated as an annual in the UK. If given the protection of a temperate conservatory, it can continue in active growth all year round, producing blooms inter-mittently from mid Summer through to the following Spring: plants in permanent conserv-atory beds may grow to just over lm (3ft) tall. More often, the plant is offered as a tender patio plant, on sale from June complete with buds. Plants grown frommay be a little later coming into bloom. The leaves are a deep green and slightly hairy; once crushed or damaged, they exude the rich fragrance which gives the plant its common name. While not overly floriferous, this Salvia is a good plant for the pathside or tubs by a doorway, where any passers-by will brush the foliage and release the scent.
In warm areas of the UK (the South and the West), this plant may thrive outside over Winter if planted in a border at the base of a South-facing wall. Normally, it will suffer when the first frost strikes, so it should be either placed in a frost-free environment (5°C/41°F) for Winter or discarded.
Grow Salvia elegans in full sun or very light shade; lots of sunshine improves the fragrance of the leaves.
Provide established examples with plenty of water during the growing period, allowing thesurface to dry before the next thorough watering. Keep overwintered plants just moist.
Conservatory specimens may benefit from a bowl of water placed nearby and from hosing down the floor every day; the slightly hairy leaves should be kept dry.
Using a proprietary plant food, feed containerized plants every 7-10 days fromto September: never feed plants in dry com-post. Plants in permanent beds should be fed in Spring with a general-purpose feed.
Grow in a free-draining, loam-based compost: either repot or use new plants each year in Spring. If you use a mobile container, the plant can be moved into a frost-free conservatory and give pleasure for longer. Pinch-out the shoot tips to keep the plant compact; container culture will keep plants smaller than those with a free root-run. Deadhead regularly to encourage flower production.
New shoot tips are vulnerable to Aphid attack: treat infestations with a soap-based insecticide or a suitable systemic insecticide.