(Ah- gah- STAH –key)
By SCMG Ellyn Pelikan
One of the most striking and versatile perennials in the garden, Agastache is a member of the mint family (lamiaceae). It punctuates its surroundings with bold toothy lanceolate greenish gray leaves and stiff upright stalks of two lipped blossoms in spikes of white, mauve, lavender, peach, pink and orange. Blooming usually lasts from midsummer to frost.
Also called hyssop or hummingbird mint, it can range in size from 12” to well over 4’ tall for giant hyssop. It is a favorite plant for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden and is known as a nectar plant.
Agastache prefers low fertility soils on the alkaline side of the pH scale. If lavender grows well for you, so will Agastache. Good drainage is a must. It loves a sunny spot in the garden and deep infrequent waterings after it is established.
Agastache is a much loved plant in the cottage garden. Small varieties may be
planted in drifts along front borders and larger ones at the back of a boarder make spectacular statements. Intermingle Agastache with Cosmos, Echinops (globe thistle), Monarda (bee balm), Rudbeckia (cone flower and black-eyed Susan), Tanacetum (feverfew), Leucanthemum (shasta daisy), Helenium (sneezeweed) Achillea (yarrow) and sun loving herbs of all kinds. Agastache can also be planted with brassicas such as cabbages, Brussels sprouts and kale, or other food crops including Beta vulgaris (Swiss chard), Rumex acetosa (sorrel) and summer vegetables. It is a standout mixed with silver or gray plants.
When different varieties are grown together they may cross-pollinate and may not produce plants true to the parent plant. Deadheading and removing volunteers helps prevent cross-pollination.
A repestris (licorice mint): 36-42” high, 2 ft wide, coral flowers.
A. foeniclum (anise hyssop or giant blue hyssop): Anise scented to 4’ tall by 2’ wide. Give this plant room! Blue to purple flowers.
A. rugosum (Korean hyssop): 2’ tall by 1’ wide. Wrinkled green leaves, violet flowers, minty fragrance, Tolerates wetter feet than most varieties.
A. Mexicana ‘Kiegador’ (AcapulcoÔ series) orange-16-18” tall 1-ft.wide, orange flowers, minty leaves, Great in drifts at the front of a border.
Don’t pass up this fabulous perennial. Low maintenance, versatile, and pleasing to the eye, Agastache is a star in any garden.