Salvia dorisiana goes by several monikers, Fruit sage, Peach sage, Grapefruit sage, Fruit cocktail sage, Fruit Scented Sage, among others. This plant has large soft, fuzzy, light green leaves , good sized magenta-pink blooms and an almost intoxicating scent. This is one of the most strongly delicious scented plants we have ever had the pleasure to grow.
Doris grows three to five feet tall, and is heavily branched. The leaves have a fruity scent when brushed, and the blooms appear in winter. Salvia dorisiana was first described in 1950, and has become popular as a greenhouse plant. The entire plant is covered in hairs whose glands release a pineapple-grapefruit scent. I would liken it to a sweeter Pineapple sage, Salvia elegans on steroids. From Honduras, this tender perennial, hardy to zones 10-11 is named after Doris, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. She [Tethys] brought forth a race of daughters, who have the young in their keeping all over the earth. Doris was the wife of Nereus. She was mother to the fifty Nereids, sea nymphs. (There is a lot of information available online about the Greek mythology of the watery world. Google can help you learn more if you are so inclined.) Added: A comment disputes the mythology naming that was described on several sites, stating that this plant was named for Doris Zemurray Stone, 1909-1994, archaeologist and ethnographer and director of the national museum of Costa Rica.
Our Doris came to the Fairegarden as a cutting from offspring Brokenbeat several years ago. He had been given a cutting from a friend in the mathematics department at UNC-Asheville. Potted up and growing larger and larger during the outdoor time of summer, the fruity scented Salvia was trimmed back each year in the fall as it came inside the greenhouse/sunroom.
One year it was planted in the ground to see if blooming could be coaxed, not realizing the bloom time was in winter. It grew quite large, but did not form buds by the time frost blackened the leaves. Cuttings had been struck to keep it going and to share with Brokenbeat and his friend who had lost their specimens.
This fall there was no pruning of the long branches when its winter holiday indoors began to see if it would bloom, but there was some leaf pruning being done by an unseen interloper. Doris did not receive the dip of death that the other plants get, in particular the orchids, when coming into the house to remove any unwanted guests. She was too large and we felt it would spoil the fragrance and appearance of the luscious foliage to be so treated. Whole leaves were being devoured overnight much to our chagrin, but a webby formation under a leaf alerted us to the location of the large green caterpillar responsible for the destruction. He was unceremoniously lifted, leaf and all and deposited outside into the sub freezing temps of the garden. Sink or swim, Mr. Very Hungry Caterpillar. Or become a popsicle for a hungry bird.
Oh, so tenuously she was repotted into a larger vessel. There were a couple of branches broken in the process which were promptly stuck in potting mix to root. After a day of drooping, the budded limbs perked back up.
The greenhouse/sunroom receives some heat from a ceiling vent tied in to the main house furnace, but with five windows on three sides the temps remain cool with a median temperature of fifty degrees Fahrenheit at night and on colder, cloudy days. Recently there was a spate of sunny and unseasonably warm days in the seventies.
That warmth triggered the buds to open, revealing for the very first time the promised pink parcels of perfection. Doris has been inspected carefully and there have been baby buds spied in nearly every leaf axil. There should be flowers reminiscent of ocean mythology to take us into spring.