Agastache is a plant that boasts many assets. Its appeal lies in its foliage, flowers and therapeutic properties.
Main Agastache facts
Name – Agastache
Family – Lamiaceae
Type – perennial
Height – 12 to 48 inches (30 to 120 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – light, well-drained
Blooming – May to October
Let’s take a look at how to grow Agastache and get to rediscover this plant.
How to plant agastache
You can plant agastache starting in October and all the way to May-June, keeping a distance of 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) between plants.
- Agastache likes full sun but it also tolerates part sun.
- It appreciates well drained soil, even poor.
- Being planted in the sun is where agastache is at its best in terms of flavor.
How to sow agastache
If sowing from seed, sow agastache during the month of March in a sheltered place.
- In any case, select a full sun location.
- Once it has set root and has settled in properly, agastache will go to seed and re-seed itself and will ultimately form a nice flowery cover along the ground.
You can propagate agastache in spring or fall through crown division. This ensures that new plants will resemble the initial mother plant.
Another technique is to save seeds and then sow them. New seedlings that result might not grow up to be exactly like the mother plant. This is due to cross-pollination: agastache very easily fertilizes with pollen from other varieties. So if the pollen came from a different type of agastache, a new variety might appear!
Germinating agastache seeds
It helps to “stratify” the seeds.
This is because they need to “feel” that Winter is over before sprouting again – if not, they’d sprout in Fall and quickly die of frost in Winter. On a chemical level, the cold helps some compounds develop which trigger germination in Spring.
To stratify agastache seeds:
- Use an airtight tupperware or zip-seal bag. Choose a small one so it doesn’t take up much space.
- In the container, pour a handful of sterilized soil mix. Fresh soil mix straight from the bag is fine. Otherwise, bake a handful in an oven for half an hour (after preparing a meal with it to save on energy), it’ll kill any fungus.
- Mix the seeds together with the sterile soil, and add a few spoonfuls of water, just enough to get the soil moist but not soggy. Close the container/pouch.
- For about ten days, switch the container from refrigerator (40°F or 5°C) to freezer (10-20°F or -10/-5°C) every day. This mimics freeze and thaw.
- After that, the seeds are ready for sowing in a tray!
This plant copes well with having a lot of sun, but requires watering in case of elevated temperatures.
If growing it in pots, don’t wait for the soil to be completely dry before watering again; simply water often but in moderate amounts.
- Wait for the plant to have grown quite a bunch of leaves before harvesting for the first time.
- Dried agastache leaves keep very well, they can last several months.
Note that when you crumple agastache flowers and leaves, they produce a soft mint-like fragrance with a touch of aniseed. It is very pleasurable.
All there is to know about agastache
Agastache is part of the Lamiaceae family, as is sage. Both plants are thus well known both for their medicinal properties and for their taste: leaves of both are used in culinary preparations as a spice herb.
Types of recipes it is used in include desserts, jams, sauces and more, thanks to its licorice, aniseed-like taste.
Although Agastache is the scientific name, more common appellations are hummingbird mint and giant hyssops. It is a relative of mint, but has nothing to do with hyssops.
Two varieties, Agastache foeniculum and Agastache rugosa, are used to prepare tea that helps stimulate digestion and counters vomiting and diarrhea. Dried leaves and flowers are the best parts of the plant for this.
Also very ornamental and simply of a high value as a spice, this plant is also an excellent flower bed plant to decorate the garden. As a spice, you can cook delicious flavorful meals. Use young leaves in salad or prepare tea and infusions from them.
An extremely melliferous plant, agastache will grow well in a flower bed or along edges, in a rocky pile or a sand patch, and it’ll even fit right into a garden box on your balcony or terrace. You’ll be attracting butterflies and other beautiful insects – or hummingbirds! – in no time.
Smart tip about agastache
Flower your beds with plants of all colors, shapes and sizes!
The many Agastache varieties will help and in time, just as for the iris flower, a new hybrid might even appear!
Agastache on social media
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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Hummingbird on Agastache (also on social media) by USFWS Mountain-Prairie under © CC BY 2.0
Blue Agastache by Dan Mullen under © CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Agastache with bee by Debbie under © CC BY-NC-ND 2.0