Agastache is a member of the mint family and has leaves very characteristic of that family. Many types of Agastache, or Hyssop, are native to North America, making them perfect for wild butterfly gardens and perennial beds. Agastache varieties may cross-pollinate and produce specimens that do not mimic the parent plant. This can either be a fun occurrence or a nuisance if your preferred species is taken over by a cross.
Hyssop Plant Information
Agastache plants are known for their brightly colored blooms, which attract hummingbirds and butterflies. In fact, another name for the plant is hummingbird mint. All Agastache plant types produce bushy plants with colorful spikes of flowers. Hyssop flowers are also edible and a colorful way to brighten the kitchen garden. These plants are hardy to USDA zone 5 and survive freezing winters with some mulch over the root zone quite well, provided soils drain freely. Many varieties of Hyssop can get up to 4 feet (1 m.) in height, but most remain only 12 to 18 inches (31-46 cm.) tall. Hummingbird mint has lance-shaped, toothy leaves with a grayish green hue. Blooms may be peach, mauve, pink, white, lavender, and even orange. Flowers begin showing up in midsummer and can continue to produce until the first frost when the plant will die back.
Suggested Agastache Varieties
As with all plants, there are continuous new introductions to the cultivated world of Hyssop. Agastache repestris is also called licorice mint and grows 42 inches (107 cm.) tall with coral flowers. Honey Bee White is a 4 foot (1 m.) wide bush that is one of the taller species, while, similarly, the big bush Anise Hyssop will achieve 4 feet (1 m.) in height with a similar width. Agastache plant types for the edges of perennial beds include the orange, large-flowered Acapulco series, Agastache barberi, and orange-yellow blooming Coronado Hyssop, each of which only top out at 15 inches (38 cm.) in height. Some other types of Agastache to try by their common cultivation names:
- Blue Boa
- Cotton Candy
- Black Adder
- Sumer Sky
- Blue Fortune
- The Kudos Series (Coral, Ambrosia, and Mandarin)
- Golden Jubilee
Visit your local nursery and see what forms they offer. Most regional garden centers will carry plants that will do well in that locale and can be relied upon to perform well.
Growing Different Varieties of Hyssop
Whether you are growing Sunset Hyssop or Korean Hyssop, the soil requirements are similar. Agastache is remarkably tolerant of poor soils. The plants thrive in neutral, alkaline, or acidic soil and only require good drainage and full sun. Deadheading isn't necessary but will enhance the appearance of your plant as it blooms all summer. Provide deep, frequent waterings and avoid letting the plant dry and wilt, as flower production will be interrupted. If you want to ensure that your plant is kept true, remove any volunteers as they appear since they may be crosses of another Agastache in the area and will not continue the desired traits. Agastache is an elegant plant, easy to care for, and looks airy and colorful in drifts along a garden path or in the cottage garden. Don't miss this low maintenance bloomer for outstanding excellence in your garden.
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.
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