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Anise-hyssop

Golden Jubilee Anise-Hyssop has yellow-green foliage.

Anise-hyssop is a short-lived perennial with profuse, long-lasting, tight spikes of lavender-blue flowers. Leaves and flowers smell like anise. Excellent ornamental for the summer garden.

Botanical name:

Agastache foeniculum

All Common Names:

Anise-hyssop, Anise hyssop, Blue Giant hyssop, Fragrant giant hyssop, Anise mint

Family (English):

Mint

Family (Botanic):

Lamiaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Large plant (more than 24 inches),
  • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Tolerances:

  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil

Season of Interest:

  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • Blue,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:

Size

An erect, upright habit reaching 2 to 3 feet high
Short-lived, 2 to 3 years

Plant Care

Best in full sun in moist, well drained sites. 
Cut back plants in spring to a height of 12 inches to promote more stem branching and fuller growth.
Drought and heat tolerant once established.

Disease, pests, and problems

Does not tolerate wet conditions
Powdery mildew
Two-spotted cucumber beetles occasionally a problem

Native geographic location and habitat

Found in dry rocky areas and open woodlands and prairies from ND to KS, west to CO and Northern Mexico

Attracts birds or pollinators

Hummingbirds, birds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators

Leaf description

Opposite, dark green, 2 to 3 inch long and 1 inch wide, ovate to lanceolate leaves with serrate margins.
Leaves are often tinted purple, especially in cooler climates, underside of leaf is felt-like.
A strong smell of anise, but some say licorice, tarragon or basil.

Flower description

Flowers are on tightly packed on 4 to 5 inch long terminal spikes.
Individual flowers are 1/4 inch, tubular, lavender blue with a larger violet bract.
Long-lasting flower spikes begin in mid summer. Makes good cut flowers

Fruit description

Seeds are tiny nutlet. Plants can reseed readily.

Cultivars & hybrids and their differences

Alba Anise-hyssop (Hyssop foeniculum 'Alba' (syn. 'Alabaster'): pale green leaves and creamy white flowers

Golden Jubilee Anise-hyssop (Hyssop foeniculum 'Golden Jubilee'): golden yellow foliage with lavender-blue flowers

Licorice Blue Anise-hyssop (Hyssop foeninulum 'Licorice Blue'): green foliage with lavender-blue flowers

Licorice White Anise-hyssop (Hyssop foeninulum 'Licorice White'): medium green foliage with white flowers

Hybrids  are usually showier and hardier and come in a variety of colors. Most are 2 to 4 feet high with fragrant, gray-green leaves and dense terminal spikes.

Black Adder hyssop (Agastache 'Black Adder'): 2 to 3 feet high and 1 to 2 feet wide; black buds open to smoky red-violet flowers

Blue Blazes hyssop (Agastache 'Blue Blazes'): 3 to 4 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide; lavender-pink flowers

Blue Fortune hyssop (Agastache 'Blue Fortune'): 3 to 4 feet high; lavender-blue flowers

Heatwave hyssop (Agastache 'Heatwave'): 2 to 3 feet high; spikes of magenta-pink flowers on soft green leaves

 

Location of Agastache foeniculum (Anise-hyssop) at the Arboretum