How to Grow Agastache
Agastache (aka Anise Hyssop) is a tender perennial with aromatic leaves and colorful flower spikes all summer long.While traditional varieties have blue or purple colored flowers, newer varieties feature bold colors such as red and orange.
In warm climates, it comes back consistently each year. In cold climates is self-sows readily making it an annual addition to your garden.The flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, while the anise-flavored leaves can be used in teas and cooking.
When & Where to Plant Agastache
Light: Agastache (or Anise Hyssop) grows and flowers best in full sun. They will survive part shade, especially afternoon shade in warmer climates, but may not flower as well.
Soil: Agastache grows best on fertile, well-drained soils. It likes a soil close to neutral and in areas with acidic soils will benefit from the addition of lime.
Spacing: Plant Agastache seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before a last frost date. Move plants outdoors when the transplants are at least 4 inches tall. Space plants 12 to 15 inches apart. You can also plant seeds outdoors in rows, thinning to 1 foot apart after 4 leaves form. Direct seeded anise hyssop will flower later than transplants.
Planting: Plant Agastache in spring after all danger of frost has passed. You can plant seedlings any time until early summer. Agastache is easy to grow directly seeded into the garden. You can plant seeds in spring or in fall. Fall planted seeds will stay dormant all winter and sprout at the appropriate time in spring.
How to Grow Agastache Throughout the Season
Growth Habit: Agastache grows 2 to 4 feet tall and one foot wide in an upright form. It sends up flower spikes of purple-to-blue colored flowers from early summer until fall. Newer varieties have a broader range of flower spike colors.
Staking: Agastache is a strong-stemmed plant that usually doesn't need staking or support. If you're trying to grow straighter stems for cutting, you can stake them once the flower stalks form. Also, planting Agastache plants closer together in groups will allow them to support each other and not blow over as easily during a summer storm.
Watering: Agastache is a drought-tolerant herb, especially once established. Keep the soil moist for germination and seedling growth. Once mature, these mint family plants are tough and can go weeks without watering.
Fertilizing: Amend the soil before planting Agastache with compost. Additional fertilizer usually isn't needed. In fact, too much fertility will cause the plant to flower less and later, and reduce the essential oils in the leaves and flowers. It also can cause the stems to become floppy and fall over more easily.
Mulching: Since Agastache is drought tolerant, there usually isn't a need for mulching. However, in very dry conditions, a 1 to 2-inch thick mulch of pine needles or crushed stone can help young plants get established and keep weeds away.
Agastache: End of Season Care
Trimming & Pruning: Trim back Agastache plants by pinching the new growth in spring to promote bushier growth. Deadhead (trim) spent flower stalks to keep the plant tidy. If growing Agastache as a perennial, don't prune or deadhead past midsummer. Pruning too late in the season will stimulate new growth in fall that may not survive the winter.
If growing Agastache as an annual, keep trimming and deadheading as needed. If you want to prevent Agastache from sowing seeds, which it does rampantly, deadhead before the flower stalks turn brown and the seeds mature and drop to the ground.
In zone 5 or warmer areas where Agastache is a perennial, each spring cut back the plant by 1/3rd to stimulate new growth.
Dividing & Transplanting: Agastache is grown as an annual in cooler climates and a perennial in warmer climates. There's no need for dividing plants in cooler climates. Where Agastache is a perennial it will usually brown and dieback to the ground in winter. For perennials, every 3 to 5 years, dig and divide the plant in spring to rejuvenate it, taking one-foot diameter sections to replant in a location with similar growing conditions.
Pests & Disease: Agastache is relatively pest free. During dry weather spider mites may attack, forming webbing and causing leaves to curl and yellow. Wash off leaves regularly during periods of dry weather to prevent sider mite buildup. Reduce pesticide use so as not to kill predators of spider mites, but if need be, spray insecticidal soap to kill small infestations.
Since Agastache loves well-drained soil, wet, clay soils and areas with lots of winter rains can cause bacteria and fungal growth to rot the plant crown. Prevention is best to stop this rotting. Grow plants on sandy loam soils or build raised beds and bring in the appropriate soil for best growth.
Agastache: Extra Info
Agastache is a rampant self-sowing plant. Don't be surprised to see many new seedlings around old plants in spring. Luckily, these seedlings transplant well and can be moved around the garden or weeded out. However, they may not come true to their parent's leaf and flower color, so don't be surprised if the babies look different from the moms.
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