By Bonnie L. Grant
Agastache is a perennial plant with lovely flower spires that bloom all season long. The Agastache flower is commonly found in purple to lavender but may also bloom in pink, rose, blue, white and orange. Growing Agastache as a drought-loving perennial actually produces the best plants. Agastache plant is tolerant of low water and poor nutrient conditions but provides you with a color display and enduring greenery for months. Learning how to grow Agastache requires no special skills or care.
What is Agastache Plant?
Agastache is in the Hyssop family of herbs and makes a flavorful tea. It is a striking plant that has many varieties, some of which are hardy and others that are frost tender and grown as annuals in most cooler climates. Growing Agastache requires sun and well drained soil. The leaves resemble catmint and are a dull green with heavy veining. The plants can grow 2 to 6 feet tall and produce the showy Agastache flowers until the first frost.
Agastache flowers come in a variety of colors and rise up off of stiff triangular stems. The blooms have the appearance of being coated with fuzz because they are comprised of many tiny florets. The entire flower may be 3 to 4 inches long and begin to bloom from the top down. This means that the florets at the crown of the flower die out first, leaving tips that look slightly burnt. This just adds more interest to the Agastache plant.
How to Grow Agastache
Growing Agastache can be done indoors as starts or you may direct seed into the garden in spring. Flowers will be produce more quickly on plants that are started indoors in May and transplanted in early summer. Agastache plant is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 to 10. Most plants can survive temperatures down to 10 F. (-12 C.) if heavily mulched.
Provide plenty of water when the plants are establishing but it can mostly fend for itself after it matures.
There are many types of Agastache. The genus represents 30 different plants, each with different flower color, height, foliage, aroma and hardiness.
Giant hyssop is a perennial garden favorite that tops 6 feet in height. Anise hyssop or Anise Agastache (Agastache foeniculum) is a licorice flavored and scented plant that makes an excellent tea. There is even a bubble gum scented cultivar. ‘Golden Jubilee’ bears golden yellow foliage with blue flowers.
There are new cultivars of Agastache flowers bred every year. It is easy to find Agastache varieties for every garden.
Agastache are usually tall plants and their lengthy stalks show best at the back of a perennial border or lining a fence. They can be used in container gardens or in cut flower gardens, as the Agastache flowers are long lasting.
Growing Agastache in the butterfly garden not only attracts those beautiful insects but pollinators and hummingbirds. Deer and rabbits do not seem to enjoy Agastache, which makes it ideal for the woodland garden.