Agastache

Common name: Mexican Giant Hyssop

Agastache: a member of the mint family is a herbaceous perennial originating from North America.

The aromatic leaves that have a scent similar to liquorice and is often called 'liquorice mint'

The leaf tips can be eaten and are some times made into herbal tea.

The name Agastache comes from the Greek word Aga meaning Many, and Stachys - Ears of Wheat

The large flower spikes which are a favourite with Bees and Butterflies can grow to a height of 900m (36") which makes them ideal for growing as a 'cut flowers'.

The tubular flowers come in colors ranging from white to pink, with some newer hybrids available in red or blue and normally flower from July to October subject to the season.

Although this plant is classified as a hardy perennial it is best treated as a half hardy annual in the UK.

Because of their need for winter protection and full sunshine it is probably best to grow them in containers to allow for moving them as weather conditions dictate.

Like most members of the mint family, they will thrive when given copious amounts of water particularly if grown in containers.

If grown in the border; established plants will not require watering as often.

Adding a 50-75mm (2"-3" )layer of organic mulch on the growing area will keep the soil evenly moist and also help to keep weed growth to a minimum.

Again like mint, it spreads by underground runners, to avoid this contain the root system in a bottomless bucket or similar sunk into the border soil.

They are also prolific self seeders so regularly dead head the plants to avoid this occurrence.

Cultivation notes:

Week 10: Sow seed in trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 21°C (70°F)

Germination should take about 7-10 days.

Every three to four years divide established plants at this time of the year, or alternatively, take root cuttings to increase stock.

Replant the divisions, making sure that each contains a bit of roots and a bit of top growth.

Week 13-15: Prick out seedlings when they are large enough to handle, and gradually harden them off in a frost free coldframe until planting out time.

Week 21: Plant out approximately 300mm (12") apart in full sun to very light shade in well drained fertile soil if weather conditions allow.





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