Plant Profile: Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

I love Agastache. Plain and simple, I love them. What’s not to love? They attract bees and butterflies, are extremely drought tolerant, and bloom all season. That’s about all that you can ask for in a perennial.

Agastache foeniculum, in particular, is a knockout perennial. It has lavender-purple blooms that start in May and continue all season. The blooms are held on upright spikes above the 3′ tall fragrant foliage. The fragrant foliage is a deterrent to deer. That’s another tick mark on the plus side of the equation for growing Agastache. Bees and butterflies are drawn to Agastache like a moth to a flame. It is truly a magnet for all types of our six-legged friends including beneficial insects that take care of the nasties that want to decimate our gardens.



Look at that little guy…so happy to be in the vegetable garden eating and pollinating all at the same time. These are plants that I grew from seed last year and they are ginormous this year. They’ve already been blooming for weeks and will continue for months more. Have I mentioned that I love Agastache?

There are a few cultural conditions to keep in mind when growing Agastache. The first is the soil. Agastache are native to dry areas with poor soil. Don’t plant them where the soil is too rich or they’ll end up all floppy. They won’t die but they won’t be impressive either. Also, don’t plant them in wet soil. They must have well-drained soil and they actually prefer droughty conditions once they are established. You can water them but you may force too much top growth and then you end up with the floppiness issue again. Their last cultural requirement is sun. They can tolerate a tiny bit of shade but they prefer the fullest of sun. You almost can’t give them too much sun. Agastache is hardy to Zone 4.

One other thing to keep in mind when planting Agastache foeniculum is that they reseed readily. You can expect to have many more baby Agastache next year surrounding your original plants. They are easy enough to remove if you don’t need anymore but why not give them to your gardening friends or transplant them around the garden. If your garden beds are filling up and you have a veggie garden, move a few out there. Your cucumbers and tomatoes will thank you!

Have you grown Agastache in your garden? What are your opinions? Leave me a comment below or e-mail me. I’d love to share your experiences with other Mid-Atlantic Gardening readers. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me at Twitter. Happy gardening!





June 13, 2012Permalink 4 Comments

4 thoughts on “Plant Profile: Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

  1. It could be. I think you live in Illinois and it’s native there. Or do you live in Iowa, Ohio…I don’t remember. It’s a great plant…maybe your goats have a taste for fragrant foliage. Should make for some interesting milk

  2. Hi,
    wondering if you can help me…. I’m currently growing some Anise Hyssop from seed, indoors on a sunny windowsill (in the UK). I’m about 2 months into the growing process and I’ve successfully transplanted the seedlings into individual 9cm pots where they have been growing steadily for the past few weeks. However, the largest of the seedlings, approx 2 inches tall, 8 leaves, is starting to develop brown/black blemishes on the tips of the leaves. Any idea what this could be? I’m relatively new to gardening but I’m pretty sure they are neither under or over watered and with them being indoors they don’t appear to have any contact with insects or any other pests.

    As it is just the one seedling with this problem at the moment I’m not too bothered, just want to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to the others as they develop to the same size.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • It sounds like overwatering to me. Agastache, as a genus, are extremely drought tolerant. Let them dry out a bit more between waterings and see if it helps. Let me know!

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