Agastache, commonly known as hyssop, and recently being called Hummingbird Mint, is a beautiful flowering herb that is native to North America and is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. There are over 30 species of Agastache, which are known for their beautiful flowers and fragrant foliage. Agastache is an excellent choice for pollinator gardens, as the plant’s flowers are highly attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Preferred Growing Conditions
Sunlight is a key ingredient for Agastache’s success. These plants are sun-lovers, thriving in full sun to light shade. Agastache can tolerate more sun in areas with cooler summers, while in regions with intense heat, providing some afternoon shade can prevent stress and sunburn. The sun’s warmth encourages vigorous growth and enhances the release of its intoxicating fragrance.
Agastache thrives in well-drained soil with a slightly alkaline to neutral pH. While the plants appreciate regular watering during their establishment period, they are drought-tolerant once they mature. Soil that retains too much moisture can lead to root rot, so ensuring proper drainage is crucial to the plant’s health. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings to strike the right balance. Applying a layer of mulch around the base of the plants can help conserve soil moisture and regulate temperature fluctuations.
Leaves and Flowers
Agastache leaves are lance-shaped or ovate and often tinged with shades of gray or green. These leaves are coated with fine hairs that contribute to their slightly fuzzy appearance, which reduces water loss through transpiration, making them well-suited to drier conditions. Upon touching the leaves, a delightful scent is released, adding another sensory dimension to their appeal.
The flowers of Agastache are arranged in vertical spikes that rise above the foliage. They showcase a striking spectrum of colors, ranging from shades of pink, purple, and lavender to warm hues of orange and red. The unique tubular shape of the flowers, often referred to as “bottlebrush” spikes, provides a convenient landing platform for pollinators seeking nectar. These blooms are magnets for hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, making Agastache an invaluable contributor to a thriving and biodiverse garden ecosystem.
Agastache Blue Boa is one of the best pollinator attractors that we have ever seen at Martin Garden Center. If you are attempting to attract pollinators to your garden, consider this perennial as a must. Another very popular Agastache is the Kudos series, which has more tubular flowers ranging in colors across the spectrum. Recently, Agastache is being called Hummingbird Mint, which really confuses the heck out of people. But, hummingbirds are extremely attracted to it, particularly the Kudos Red variety.