Friday, May 20, 2011

Pineapple Sage Overwinters in Delaware!

I was pleasantly surprised the other day when I found my pineapple sage resprout, when visiting my old garden in Delaware (which I have since moved from):

A while back, I wrote about Pineapple sage, Salvia elegans, which I use to make a delicious herbal tea. That post shows a picture of the plant from last year.

According to Floridata's sheet on Pineapple sage, this plant is hardy (in the sense of resprouting from the ground) in zones 8 and 9. Northern Delaware lies near the border of USDA Hardiness Zones 7a and 6b. It seemed wishful thinking to keep this plant through the winter, but I tried my best anyway. I had planted the plant in a sunny but protected location, an area near the building with ample winter sun. I applied large quantities of mulch, mostly tea leaf mulch, to the base of the plant.

Although I was surprised to see this plant, pictured above, resprout after surviving the winter, it was a rather mild winter temperature-wise, and the plant was planted in a very sheltered location.

It makes me wonder though: could one grow a tea plant in Delaware? I suspect, with the conditions above, that I probably could, although a colder winter might be problematic for it. Some of the hardiest varieties of Camellia sinensis are reported to be much hardier than the zones specified for pineapple sage.

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