Anise Hyssop

Agastache foeniculum 'Blue Fortune' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Agastache foeniculum ‘Blue Fortune’ in a garden border (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

The licorice scented anise hyssop, Agastache foeniculum, has long been a member of my garden family for a number of reasons; from its upright stature and harmonizing color to the sweetly fragrant foliage often used in teas. A North American native, Agastache foeniculum bears stunning columns of lilac purple blooms from late June through September (deadheading is encouraged) in sunny landscapes from zones 4-9. Capable of reaching over 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, anise hyssop works wonderfully in a garden setting with other prairie type plants such as aster, rudbeckia and phlox.

Bright pink cleome paired with agastache in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Bright pink cleome pairs well with purple agastache (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Anise hyssop is in the same mint family (Lamiaceae) as Hyssopus officinalis, an eastern Mediterranean native, yet strangely they are not closely related, though both have been used medicinally and possess the recognized violet blue flowers. Because hyssop can easily spread by seed, the shorter (2 foot tall) Hyssopus officinalis has also naturalized throughout North America, but has not become invasive.

**If you love incredibly blue blossoms, check out: Vivacious Vitex ~

Agastache foeniculum and friends in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Agastache foeniculum and friends (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Not only is anise hyssop a beautiful addition to any garden border, it is also irresistible to bees, butterflies, hummingbird moths and hummingbirds. The nectar from hyssop’s violet blue spikes is both alluring and beneficial, so be prepared for colonies of airborne friends to be stopping by for frequent visits. And you won’t need to disturb any of your garden guests with constant primping or watering, as anise hyssop is an easy care, drought resistant perennial once established.

Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' in the garden border in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’ brightens the garden border (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Well drained soil and sun are essential for longevity (I have lost some to wet winters), and here are a few of the most dependable plants I’ve grown over the decades: Agastache foeniculum ‘Blue Fortune’ offers rich lavender blue 3-4 inch flower spikes on 3 foot tall plants, and Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’, a slightly shorter (30 inch) chartreuse foliaged option with wonderfully contrasting lavender blue bottlebrush blossoms that actually prefers a bit of afternoon shade in zones 5-9.  If you like a hit of blue in your border, you can’t miss with anise ~

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