Anise Hyssop/Hummingbird Mint/Licorice Mint
Sometimes it's hard to be thankful for the relentless heat we get in July and August in the Rogue Valley, but having an Agastache (or two) in your garden will definitely help you learn to appreciate our summer weather! This late blooming perennial LOVES our dry, hot summers. Agastaches attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds with their tubular flowers. They thrive in well-drained soil and can even handle gritty or nutrient poor soil. And as you might guess from their multiple common names, Agastache’s minty-fragrant foliage endears them to gardeners – while making them generally unpalatable to deer.
There is a catch, of course. Agastache not only thrive in well-drained soil – they require it. The key is getting them through our wet winters. We recommend planting them high, adding gravel or grit to the hole, and mulching with a 1/4" gravel to keep moisture from the crown.
The other imperative is to not prune Agastaches back until spring, when you see new growth emerging from the base. Leaving the woody stems will help them survive our rainy winters; it is usually too much water, not cold, that will do them in. Placing them in full sun, even in the winter months will also help.
A deep soak every couple of weeks will get them through the summer months, but once mine are established I don't water them all summer. They pair beautifully with ornamental grasses like Bouteloua, as well as other sun-loving, pollinator-friendly perennials like Echinacea, Nepeta, Erigeron, and Lavender.The other imperative is to not prune Agastaches back until spring, when you see new growth emerging from the base. The woody stems will help it survive the rainy winter; it is usually too much water, not cold, that will do them in. Placing them in full sun, even in the winter months will also help.
There are new hybrids coming out all the time, in vibrant shades of orange, pink, yellow, magenta, and purple - but the sunset tones are my favorite. They can vary in height but are usually at least 18"-36" tall and wide.
Here are a few of our current favorites:
Agastache rupestris 'Sunset' (left): Lovely peachy orange tones with a lavender calyx and fine licorice-mint scented foliage, one of the most reliable and cold hardy. 1' to 3' tall, 1' to 2' wide.
Agastache 'Blue Boa' (right): This is a big one; 2-3' tall. Showy deep blue-violet spikes contrast beautifully with the rich, green foliage. Long blooming, excellent for late season fall color.
Agastache ‘Morello’ (left): Another tall one, about 3’ by 3’, with burgundy-rose colored flowers that contrast beautifully with its dark foliage. Like all Agastaches, ‘Morello’ thrives in well-drained soils and attracts lots of hummingbirds and other pollinators!