The hyssop plant belongs to the Lamiaceae family, which is more commonly known as the mint family. The scientific name for this plant is Hyssopus officinalis. Another common name is hummingbird mint. These plants mainly come from two genera that are known as Hyssopus and Agastache.
It is a beautiful plant that is very easy to grow and is native to North America. The varieties of these plants can cross-pollinate and have specimens that are different from the parent plant.
Features of the Hyssop plant
This is a bushy plant that has bright-colored flowers on top of its long spikes. The foliage is needle-like, and the flowers give off a pungent, medicinal scent. Due to this, the plant has a history of being used as a medicinal herb. This plant typically grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches.
It is evergreen in the areas where winter does not hit very hard. The flowers appear in clusters of 6 to 15 and are blue, pink or white in color. The blooming season for the flowers is from summer to fall. The leaves are deep green in color and are around 1.5 inches long. Smaller leaves show up on the leaf axis. This plant attracts a lot of hummingbirds and butterflies due to its colorful blooms.
Cultivation of the Hyssop Plant
This plant is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9. It needs well-drained soil to grow well and can survive the freezing weather, too, if the soil is good enough. The soil should have a pH range between 5 and 7. This means that the soil can be strongly acidic or alkaline. When growing this plant, a space of around 6 to 12 inches should be left between different plants in order for the roots to have enough space to grow properly.
This plant grows best outdoors but can also be grown in containers and hydroponics. It can be propagated in many different ways – by root division, cuttings, and seeds. The method of propagation is different in each season, and it typically takes around 14 to 31 days for the seeds to germinate. Adding to that, the plant needs full sun to grow, but can also grow in partial shade.
The hyssop plant needs to be watered regularly in order for it to grow well. But, care should be taken to ensure that there is no overwatering. The soil should be allowed to get completely dry in between watering periods to give it enough time to soak properly. This plant can also tolerate dry conditions well. Pests and diseases do not affect this plant much.
Types of Hyssop Plants
There are many varieties of the hyssop plant. A few of the popular ones are listed below and explained in detail, along with their ideal cultivation ways.
Agastache ‘Black Adder’ (Giant Hyssop)
This variety is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9. It grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet and spreads around 1 to 2 inches. The flowers are reddish violet in color and are on terminal spikes that are 6 to 8 inches long. The blooming season for the flowers in mid to late summer or fall.
The flowers of this plant are a great attraction for hummingbirds and are very fragrant as well. This herbaceous perennial grows well in full sun to part shade. It is a medium maintenance plant owing to the fact that the water requirements for this plant are very less. Adding to that, it is also deer resistant. Average soil with a medium amount of moisture suits this plant well.
It is advisable that dead flowers are deadheaded. That ensures that the plant looks healthy and fresh. This plant can best be put to use for sunny borders, cottage gardens, or butterfly gardens. It even looks very pretty near patios and walkways.
A problem that might arise with this plant is that of crown rot. This happens mainly because of poorly drained soil. Powdery mildew and leaf spots can also be a problem. Apart from these issues, this plant does not have any other insect or disease problems.
Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ (Anise Hyssop)
This plant is characterized by flowers that are a deep violet-blue color. The foliage of this plant is a deep green color and has a very strong scent. This plant grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet and spreads 1 to 2 feet. The USDA hardiness zones for this plant are 5 to 9.
Blue boa has a growing habit that forms clumps of erect stems. The blooming seasons for the flowers of this plant are early summer, midsummer, late summer, and fall. This plant needs full sun or part shade to grow. It is low maintenance and requires an average amount of water in order to stay healthy.
The flowers are showy and attract a lot of hummingbirds and butterflies. Well-drained soil with medium moisture can ensure that this plant gets enough nutrients to stay healthy. Blue boa is drought tolerant once it’s established and has a medium growth rate.
It’s best to grow this plant in an area where there is little to no foot traffic in order to ensure that the plant does not get spoilt. This plant can best be put to use in cottage gardens or butterfly gardens. It also looks really good in patios. Crown rot, powdery mildew, and leaf spots can be an issue.
Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ (Giant Hyssop)
This variety grows up to a height of 2 to 3 feet and spreads 1 to 2 feet. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. The flowers are lavender-blue in color and are held over deep green foliage. The leaves have an anise scent when they are crushed. The blooming seasons for the flowers are summer and fall.
This plant is relatively low maintenance and requires an average amount of water to grow properly. Adding to that, this plant is a treat for hummingbirds and butterflies and is resistant to deer. The plant needs full sun to grow, alongside well-drained and fertile oil. This ensures that a blue fortune gets all the nutrients it needs. Even with complete soil nutrients, it has an average growth rate.
The plant can best be used for adding vertical accents to borders. It is short-lived, and this needs to be replaced every few years, especially after the winter season. It is advised to not cut the faded flower stems till early spring since they can be useful in the winter season.
When planting this variety, a space of 18 inches should be left between the plants so that the roots have enough space to grow. Deadheading is advised in order to prolong the flowering period. It takes around 2 to 5 years on average for this plant to reach its maximum height. It is a variety that is generally disease and pest free.
Agastache ‘Bolero’ (Hummingbird Mint)
This plant forms a low mound of bronzy green foliage and has flowers that are rose-purple in color. The plants bloom in summer and fall. They look best in beds, borders or containers and are a real feast for hummingbirds, honeybees, and butterflies.
This plant grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet and spreads the same. The USDA hardiness zones for this plant are 5 to 10. This is a fast-growing variety and does well in dry soils that are fertile. The soil should have a pH of 7 or greater.
The one thing that really needs to be taken care of is that the soil should be well-drained. This plant cannot tolerate wet soil, especially in winter. Wet soil can also cause root rot. Other than that, full sun is ideal for this plant to grow. This is a low-maintenance plant owing to the fact that it has low water needs.
It has a medium growth rate and is a rather easy-to-grow plant. It is drought tolerant and has fragrant flowers as well and is widely used for mass plantings. This variety is generally pest and disease-free.
Agastache ‘Kudos Ambrosia’ (Hummingbird Mint)
This plant grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet and spreads the same. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 10. The flowers of this variety are light rose-pink, pale orange or creamy coconut in color. They bloom from early summer all the way to fall.
They attract hummingbirds and look absolutely beautiful in beds, borders, or containers. This is a fast-growing plant and attracts a lot of pollinators all year round. This variety is a hybrid perennial, and full sun exposure is ideal for this plant to grow. Well-drained fertile soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is also what this plant needs to thrive. All this ensures that this plant gets enough nutrition.
Alongside that, this variety looks best in cut flowers. It is drought-tolerant, and it takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks to grow to a healthy size. The location chosen for this plant should have little to no foot traffic to ensure that the plant does not get damaged or spoiled in any way.
Adding to that, it is self-sowing. It is advised that this plant is deadheaded by removing faded flowers so that it keeps looking healthy and fresh. Fertilizer should be used once or twice a year, and care should be taken to ensure that overwatering is not done as overwatering can cause root rot.
Agastache ‘Kudos Coral’ (Hummingbird Mint)
This variety is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 10. It grows up to a height of 1 to 2 feet and spreads up to 1 to 2 feet as well. The flowers are coral colored and have a sweet honey scent. The blooming seasons for this variety are summer and fall.
They look best in beds, borders, and containers and are a delight for hummingbirds. This variety has a very fast growth rate. It needs full sun to grow and needs to be watered occasionally.
In extreme heat conditions, the plant needs to be watered more than usual. The soil should be coarse and should have excellent drainage to ensure that the water does not stay in the soil. Along with its quick growth rate, this plant also has a rounded growth habit. It is disease resistant and requires minimal care in order to remain healthy and fresh looking.
These look best in cottage gardens, Mediterranean gardens, and rustic gardens. Other companion plants include Coneflower, Bee Balm and Russian Sage. Pruning and deadheading are essential for this plant to look healthy and grow well. This variety attracts a lot of pollinators – butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted the most.
Agastache ‘Kudos Gold’ (Hummingbird Mint)
This variety is characterized by golden yellow colored flowers that bloom in summer and fall. This fast-growing perennial is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 10 and grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet. It spreads by 1 to 2 feet, too. Alongside that, this variety looks best in beds, borders, and containers.
The flowers give off a very pleasing smell and attract hummingbirds. The foliage is an attractive green color and uplifts the look of any garden.
This variety is generally disease and pest free. It needs full sun to grow, alongside soil that has an optimum amount of moisture and is well-drained. It is essential that the water does not stay for too long; otherwise, root rot can be an issue.
The soil can be acidic, alkaline, or neutral. Other than that, this variety is also drought tolerant once the plant is established. It is a low-maintenance plant that requires only an average amount of care for it to be healthy.
Agastache ‘Kudos Mandarin’ (Hummingbird Mint)
As seen with other variants on this list, this variety also grows up to a height of 1 to 2 feet and spreads the same, too. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 10. The blooms are bright orange in color and the blooming seasons are summer and fall.
These flowers are borne on short spikes that attract a lot of pollinators, specifically hummingbirds. It is a relatively easy plant to grow and needs full sun in order to thrive. Average, well-draining soil is ideal for this plant to grow. It ensures that the plant gets all the nutrients it needs to grow properly. Fertilizer should occasionally be used, too. It is generally disease and pest free.
Agastache ‘Kudos Silver Blue’ (Hummingbird Mint)
This variety is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 10. It grows to a height of 1 to 2 inches and spreads 2 to 3 inches. The foliage is deep green in color, and the blooms are light blue. Summer and fall are the ideal seasons for the growth of this plant. The flowers are very fragrant and showy and attract hummingbirds.
The hyssop plant comes in many varieties and is ideal for any garden type. It can make any garden look colorful and beautiful.