Anise Hyssop (Agastache Foeniculum): Plant Care and Growing Guide

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is a perennial herb with aniseed-scented green leaves and short purple flowering spikes. The anise hyssop plant, sometimes known as the ‘blue giant hyssop,’ is a lovely little bushy shrub for adding color and fragrance to flower borders.erb gardens, foundation plantings, or mixed beds. Anise hyssop purple flowers are also ideal for floral arrangements.

Many uses for anise hyssop exist. Anise hyssop is a useful herbaceous plant that may be employed in most garden settings, apart from being a lovely shrub. Aniseed flavor to fresh salads or herbal infusions may be added with fragrant lanceolate leaves. Purple hyssop flowers may also be dried hanging them. This is a comprehensive guide to establishing anise hyssop in your garden. In addition, you’ll discover simple instructions for growing anise hyssop plants as an herbaceous houseplant in pots.

How to Care for Anise Hyssop

Grow anise hyssop in a sunny place in your garden to ensure proper care. Well-draining soil is ideal for growing Agastache foeniculum. To keep the ground damp, water the hyssop plant on occasion. In the spring, trim the plant’s stems, and in the summer, deadhead the purple flowers to encourage more blooms. In the winter, anise hyssop dormant, then in the spring, it awakens.

What is Anise Hyssop?

The mint family Lamiaceae includes the perennial herbaceous plant anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum). The grassy plant is found on prairies and the Great Plains of North America and is adapted to survive there. Anise hyssop spreads via rhizome roots and develops in clusters. The flower spikes of purple giant hyssop are bright violet, and the leaves are oval and pointed.

Anise hyssop grows to be 2 to 4 feet (0.6 to 1.2 meters) tall and widthwise, with a height of 0.3 meters. The plant has a bushy growth habit, thick leaves, and tall flowering spikes from spring to autumn. During the first year, the fast-growing shrub usually blooms. The Agastache plant thrives in most soil types and is drought tolerant.

Anise hyssop should not be confused with the anise plant (Pimpinella anisum), star anise (Illicium verum), or the hyssop plant (Hyssopus officinalis) in any way. Anise hyssop is named after the oval pointed leaves, which have a licorice-like fragrance and grow like hyssop plants. Anise hyssop is also known as blue giant hyssop, lavender giant hyssop, and fragrant giant hyssop.

Anise hyssop blooms from late summer to early autumn in USDA zones 4 through 9. Anise hyssop is a semi-evergreen blooming shrub that grows in warmer climates. The perennial shrub dies back to the ground in colder climates. The plant then revives itself in the spring, producing scented leaves and blue-purple blooms.

Anise Hyssop Flowers

Anise hyssop blooms are tiny flower clusters with showy spikes that range in hue from light blue to purple. In the summer, the flowering hyssop spikes reach 4 feet (1.2 meters) in height. When crushed, blue flower purple fuzzy spikes release an anise and peppermint fragrance.

Anise Hyssop Seeds 

From seeds, the giant hyssop plant expands quickly. After the blooming process, you may harvest anise hyssop seeds from the seed pods. Gather the stems into a bundle and hang it to dry before collecting the seeds. When the flower heads are drying, place a paper bag around them. The bag will hold the seeds.

Anise Hyssop Leaves

Anise hyssop leaves are lanceolate to oval in shape with serrated margins and are light green in color. When crushed, aromatic anise leaves have a licorice, anise, and mint odor that resembles mint leaves. Anise hyssop plants produce 4″ (10 cm) long licorice-scented leaves.

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) Care Guide

In your garden, how should you look after anise hyssop plants? Growing the fragrant, herbaceous anise hyssop plant in your garden is easier than you think.

Where to Plant Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

In the brightest portion of your garden, grow anise hyssop plants. In partial shade, where it thrives and blooms all summer long, blue hyssop also stands up to it. Anise hyssop grows well along borders, blends with herb gardens, and attracts pollinators like butterflies.

It’s an excellent blooming plant for gardens. Anise hyssop is a great plant for informal gardens because of its bushy appearance. Because Anise hyssop is vulnerable to juglone toxicity, it should not be planted near black walnut trees.

Light Requirements for Growing Anise Hyssop Outdoors

Anise hyssop plants may also thrive in partial shade, receiving at least six hours of sunlight per day. Planting this hyssop plant in partial shade is recommended if you live in a warmer climate, such as USDA zones 8 or 9. From late spring until the end of summer, plenty of sunlight will encourage a lot of purple spikes to bloom.

Don’t cover anise hyssop seeds until the seedlings emerge since they need light to germinate. Place the potted herb near a bright window if you want to grow anise hyssop indoors in a container. If it’s on a south-facing windowsill, you’ll have to keep the plant safe from strong midday light.

The Best Soil to Grow Anise Hyssop

In most soils in your garden, anise hyssop shrubs will grow. Sand or loamy soil that has excellent drainage is the best type of soil for anise hyssop. Anise hyssop plants will grow in most gardens, even if the soil is somewhat acidic, alkaline, or has a lot of clay.

Anise hyssop thrives best in well-draining soil, which is the most important care requirement for it to bloom and generate a lot of foliage. Working plenty of organic matter into the ground is also a good idea. peat moss or compost is used to keep moisture in the soil without making it too wet.

You should work in horticultural sand or perlite if the ground has a lot of clay or does not drain well. Perlite, for example, aids water drainage and prevents root lodging by allowing it to drain freely.

How Much Water Anise Hyssop Needs

It isn’t necessary to give anise hyssop much water. Just enough water is required to keep the soil from completely drying out. The licorice-smelling plant needs it. established plants are drought-tolerant, and anise hyssop tolerate dry soil. When watering your garden, don’t overwater the area where anise hyssop thrives.

During periods of drought, flower stalks wilt and purple giant hyssop leaves begin to drop. thoroughly water the soil to help your aromatic herbaceous plant recover. Summer shrub will be resurrected quite soon due to the extra moisture in the ground.

Temperature and Humidity for Anise Hyssop to Grow Outdoors

In USDA zones 4 through 8, anise hyssop is a hardy perennial that thrives. Between 55°F and 90°F (12°C – 32°C), Anise hyssop shrubby herbs thrive. The least soil temperature for optimum development is 60°F (15°C). You’ll need to water the sun-loving plant more often when it’s hot and sunny. Anise hyssop dies back to the ground in the fall when temperatures drop in colder areas.

Any dead branches can be cut back. In zones 4 and 5, the anise plant can withstand hard frosts without sustaining any damage. You may, however, cover the root area with a layer of mulch for additional security. Anise hyssop bushes revive as temperatures rise in the spring.

Fertilizing Anise Hyssop 

To keep their purple blooms vibrant, Agastache foeniculum benefits from yearly fertilizing in the spring. You can also apply a soluble balanced fertilizer, in addition to supplying nutrients with organically-rich compost. To encourage healthy foliage and blooming, use an organic fertilizer with a 10-10-10 NPK rating.

In order to create its lovely lavender flower spikes, anise hyssop requires little care and attention throughout the spring and summer. Cutting off old flowers in late spring also stimulates more blooming, as it energizes the easy-care garden plant.

Pruning Anise Hyssop

Regular pruning on anise hyssop plants, like with many other herbaceous shrubs, encourages bushy growth. Anise hyssop should be pruned in the early spring. On the bushy shrub, you may cut the stems in half to one-third. Snip the woody stems at an angle just above a leaf node to trim this “hyssop.”

After the initial bloom spike appears, you can also prune anise hyssop. More blue-purple blooms bloom after the spent blossoms are removed. It’s vital to postpone any additional trimming until the spring after stems have been trimmed. When the cold weather arrives in the summer, new growth emerges on pruned branches, and you run the risk of damaging it.

When the plant dies back in winter, you may also trim back anise hyssop. Or, if you prefer, you can cut the plant back to the ground and leave the bare stems as they are.

Propagating Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Anise hyssop is a herb that spreads easily. Anise hyssop may be grown from seed, stem cuttings, or plant division. This hyssop-type plant has fast spread because of its rapid development. Self-sowing is also common with anise hyssop. Let’s take a closer look at how anise hyssop plants are propagated through three methods.

How to propagate anise hyssop from seed

You may gather dried anise flowers or purchase them from a garden store in order to establish Agastache foeniculum from seed. Cold stratification is used to germinate anise hyssop seeds. The cold is first exposed to them, and moisture is subsequently supplied.

To grow anise hyssop, seedlings should be sown in your garden. scatter anise seeds 3″ (7.5 cm) apart and gently press them down in the early autumn Don’t bury anise hyssop seeds too deeply because they require light to germinate.

Water the soil just enough to prevent it from drying out during the winter. The anise hyssop seedlings will then sprout in the spring, as days get longer and warmer. Thin the seedlings by spacing them about 2 feet (60 centimeters) apart when there are at least two leaves. Indoors, you may also grow anise hyssop from seed.

Sow anise hyssop seeds in a tray with wet potting mix approximately eight weeks before the final frost date. Place a lid on the germination tray if you want to cover it lightly with soil. Keep the temperature between 65°F and 70°F (18°C and 21°C) in a sunny location.

To keep the soil slightly moist, mist it occasionally. In around 10 to 15 days, seeds will sprout. Transplant the anise hyssop seedlings to the garden when there is a set of leaves and no chance of frost.

Propagating anise hyssop by root division

It is simple to propagate new shrubs by dividing existing anise hyssop plants early in the spring. The tuberous roots of anise hyssop are simple to separate. Dig around the shrub’s drip line to separate an existing plant. After that, use your shovel to separate the plant from the earth.

Gently remove any excess soil from the shrub by lifting it from the ground. Cut the shrub into two or three pieces using your shovel, ensuring that each root piece has a lot of stems. In your garden, replant the root pieces.

Propagate anise hyssop by using stem cuttings

Take stem cuttings from Propagate Agastache foeniculum plants in early summer. Make 6″ (15 cm) cuttings from fresh-growth stem. Then remove the bottom section of the stems’ hyssop leaves. Next, bund the severed ends in a moist potting medium 2 inches (5 cm) deep, and then dip them in rooting hormone.

Keep the anise hyssop stem cuttings in a sunny spot, but away from direct sunlight. Never let the potting material completely dry out. You can transplant the cuttings to your garden once they have taken root.

Top care tip for propagating anise hyssop: It’s important to remember that when you transplant anise hyssop plants, they tend to wilt. The plant, on the other hand, will only thrive if it has adapted to its new environment.

Pests Affecting Anise Hyssop Growth

Anise hyssop is a pest-free perennial hardy in most climates.

Diseases Affecting Anise Hyssop Growth

Excessive moisture in the soil or air can cause fungal diseases to anise hyssop. The rhizome roots of Hyssop plants rot due to overwatering or poor soil drainage, which causes plant diseases. As a consequence, the stems get afflicted at the base or leaf spot. Powdery mildew may be a problem when anise hyssop bushes are planted too closely together. Leaves become unsightly due to this white powdery mold. The good news is that it has no negative impact on the plant.

Watering anise hyssop correctly is the best way to prevent illnesses that affect their growth. Drought and dry conditions are tolerable for anise hyssop. As a result, you only need to water the roots just enough to keep them hydrated. You should improve drainage by adjusting the soil if water collects around the stems.

Make sure there is enough clearance between plants for air to flow, to avoid powdery mildew. You may reduce anise hyssop plants to make them smaller and arrange them farther apart if needed. You can avoid fungal leaf problems by doing this.

Growing Anise Hyssop in Pots

To grow in containers, anise hyssop is a wonderful perennial herb. Anise hyssop thrives in bright, warm conditions, as do other indoor potted herbs. With its aromatic purple blooms that smell like aniseed and mint, the licorice-scented plant blooms continuously throughout the spring and summer.

Plant in a porous potting mix with excellent drainage to grow anise hyssop indoors. Houseplant soil, peat moss, and perlite make the best potting mix. Only when the top layer of soil dries should you water anise hyssop, and it should be placed in a sunny spot but protected from direct sunlight.

Types of Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) for Your Garden

There are various cultivars of Anise hyssop. Agastache foeniculum ‘Alabaster, left, is a creamy white blooming variety. Agastache foeniculum cultivars and crosses suitable for gardens include ‘Golden Jubilee,’ which has golden yellow leaves. In deep purple, bluish-violet, and creamy white, these anise hyssop varieties feature stunning flower spikes.

Anise hyssop cultivars have licorice-scented leaves and aniseed-scented blooms. In your sunny garden, here are some interesting anise hyssop varieties to try:

  • Agastache foeniculum ‘Alabaster’—Creamy-white blooming spikes up to 3 feet (1 m) tall characterize the anise hyssop cultivar ‘Alabaster.’ A bushy herbaceous shrub with aniseed-scented leaves. Pollinators are drawn to the white anise hyssop blooms.
  • Agastache foeniculum ‘Blue Boa’—The flower spikes of the anise hyssop ‘Blue Boa’ variety are covered in clusters of blue-violet flowers and make for a stunning display.
  • Agastache foeniculum ‘Blue Fortune’ – Blue Fortune has lighter violet blue blooms and narrower flower spikes than Blue Boa, which is why it’s considered a lighter variety.
  • Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’—The licorice-scented leaves of the anise hyssop ‘Golden Jubilee’ are bright golden yellow. The yellow foliage contrasts nicely with the purple anise hyssop flowers.

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