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Part Of The High Country Gardens Waterwise Learning Center

How To Choose Agastache

Agastache, also called Hummingbird Mint and Hyssop, are must-have plants for waterwise landscapes. We'll help you choose the right Agastache varieties for your garden.

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How To Plant Waterwise Perennials  |  6 Waterwise Yard Ideas

Agastache cana

Plants With A Purpose: Why Grow Agastache?

Our founder, David Salman, called Agastache the "superstars" of his perennial garden.

"They have everything I love in a perennial: aromatic flowers and foliage, stunning spikes of tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies, and they bloom in summer and fall, extending the seasons of color in my xeriscapes..."

Agastache plants are waterwise and ideal for drought-tolerant gardens and xerisapes. They offer abundant natural nectar to nourish pollinators with their towering flower spikes. Agastache are ideal for creating habitat - hummingbirds will be flocking to your garden to take a sip.

These resilient, drought perennials are a delight for all your senses. They're famous for their beauty as well as their delicious fragrance. They all have a minty, licorice fragrance, with some leaning toward a sweeter aroma and others leaning toward a more spicy scent.

At High Country Gardens, we proudly offer more than 20 cultivars of Agastache plants, including 9+ cultivars introduced to the horticultural trade be our founder, David Salman. 

Read on to learn which are best for your garden!

Types Of Agastache

Native Agastache Species 

The native species and hybrids of the Southwestern United States and Mexico are famous for their large flower spikes in warm glowing orange, pink, and red hues.

These Agastache are unsurpassed at attracting hummingbirds.  If you have them planted, the hummingbirds will find them! Native and native hybrid Agastaches are most often called by the common name Hummingbird Mint.

Native to dry, hot, and sunny climates, these varieties are ideal for low-water landscapes. They need well-drained soil in the garden, and they are sensitive to cold, wet winter soils.

These plants' preference for hot, dry conditions makes them more challenging to grow in colder regions, and regions with precipitation of over 25 inches per year. Of course, we gardeners love to push the boundaries when trying new plants. To grow these incredible flowers in wetter, cooler zones, try planting them in a container garden or pot where they will thrive. Then you can treat them as an annual, or bring them into a greenhouse, cold frame, or cold sunroom for the winter. They will be fine for 2 to 3 years in a pot. In moister, warmer winter climates such as USDA zone 7, the Southwestern species and hybrids are very happy as long as the soil drainage is excellent. (That means no clay soil!)

Below is a list of the Native Agastache Species available from High Country Gardens:

  • A. aurantiaca (Orange Hummingbird Mint)– native range includes the Chihuahua and Durango regions in northern Mexico. Typically bright orange flowers. 
  • A. cana (Texas Hummingbird Mint) native range includes the Southwestern US, including New Mexico and Western Texas. Typically deep magenta flowers.
  • A. neomexicana (New Mexico Hummingbird Mint) – native range includes Southwestern US and New Mexico. Typically magenta and rose flowers.
  • A. rupestris (Licorice Mint Hyssop or Sunset Hyssop) – native range includes Arizona and New Mexico. Coral and lavender flowers.
  • A. urticifolia (Horsemint) – native range includes Western North America from British Columbia south to California and Colorado. Paler white to lavender flowers.
  • A. foeniculum (Anise Hyssop) – native range includes the upper Midwest and Great Plains, as well as Northeastern states. Pale blue or lavender flowers. Exceptionally cold hardy for this group.

Our native Agastache selection also includes native cultivars and hybrids of the native species listed above.

Introduced Species & Cultivars

  • A. rugosa (Korean Mint) – native range includes moist grasslands, valleys, and stream banks in China, Vietnam, Laos, Korea and Japan.

Unlike the very waterwise native species, A. rugosa and its hybrids are suited to the more wet, humid climates of the eastern US.

Our assortment also includes hybrid cultivars selected for increased tolerance to moisture and cold, allowing a wider range of gardeners to grow these beautiful plants.

How Do You Pronounce The Latin Genus Known As Agastache?

"In Colorado and New Mexico, where we can grow a wide variety of these wonderful perennials, we generally say the name as A-ga-stä-key, A-gas-tā-key, or A-gas-tä-key. I’ve also heard it spoken as A-ga-stash-ē or A-gas-tach-ē. Essentially, there's not right or wrong way to pronounce it. However, if you’re still not comfortable uttering the name in public, call these superb plants by one of their common names; hummingbird mint or hyssop."

- David Salman, High Country Gardens Founder

The Best Agastache For Your Growing Conditions 

Evaluate the growing conditions of your space to find the right waterwise perennials. Remember, while you're shopping for plants on High Country Gardens, you can use our Filters to help find the right plants for your garden. Use filters to select Agastache plants by Bloom Time, Flower Color, and more.

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For those hot, dry planting areas, Agastache plants are an ideal solution. Where other plants wilt under the sun's relentless heat, Agastaches will hold their color and bloom prolifically well into the late summer season.

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Most Agastache plants prefer full sun. However, there are a couple of exceptions: Agastache rupestris and Agastache foeniculum (see 'Black Adder' hybrid) can tolerate light shade. 

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Growth Habit

Our extensive Agstache selection features a wide range of growth habits, so there are many ways you'll be able to incorporate them into your xeriscape. Plants range from about 1 foot tall to 5 feet tall at maturity. Select your choice using our Height filter.

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Climate, Zone & Region

Our shopping filters can help you narrow down the Agastache species and cultivars that are best for your climate. Filter to select plants best suited for your USDA Zone, your Ideal Region, your Soil Type, and your Soil Moisture (based on average rainfall.)

Agastache By Advantage

When shopping for plants at High Country Gardens, filtering for Plant Advantages will help you find plants suited to your gardening goals. Here are some of the best advantages of growing Agastache in your yard or garden.

Native Agastache

Native plants are essential for healthy ecosystems and a healthy web of life. Growing plants that are native to your region can help to create a sense of place in your yard. Plus they’re highly adaptable and resilient to the challenges of your climate.

As described above, we offer a wide range of native Agastache species and cultivars.

Agastache For Pollinators

It can't be overstated how many pollinators will flock to your Agastache plants. The towering flower spikes provide abundant natural nectar. The tubular flower shapes are perfectly compatible with the narrow hummingbird beaks, tiny bee toungues of bees, and probosci of butterflies and hummingbird moths. Agastaches are must-have plants for your pollinator garden.

Deer & Rabbit Resistant Agastache

While we may love the aromatic fragrance of Agastache plants, deer and most other critters are not so fond of the spicy scented flowers and foliage. Agastache plants have natural defenses against hungry deer, and rabbits avoid most plants as well.

Agastache For Containers

Waterwise Agastache plants are the ideal solution for containers. They can thrive in harsh heat, sun, and fast-draining soil when growing in a container or flower pot on your porch, patio, or balcony. 

Compact Agastache cultivars are great for smaller containers, and taller Agastaches make a show-stopping display in larger pots.

Use the Height shopping filter to select Agastaches by size.

Agastache 'Desert Sunrise'

Did You Know?

David Salman introduced A. rupestris (Licorice Mint Hyssop or Sunset Hyssop) as the first Agastache species to reach the horticultural trade.

Noteworthy Waterwise Plants

High Country Gardens Agastache Introductions

Growing Agastache was an "obsession" of David Salman's for over 25 years. Through High Country Gardens, he introduced several new Agastache spaces into cultivation in the United Sates, including Agastache rupestris, and hybrid cultivars such as 'Desert Sunrise'® and 'Ava'

Over decades of working with Agastache, David Salman introduced the following species and hybrids through High Country Gardens:

Hear the fascinating story of David's work with Agastache plants, in his own words, in this great guide:

High Country Gardens Exclusives

Our Exclusives include Agastache cultivars that you won’t find anywhere else! Exclusive items include perennials grown in limited quantities only at the High Country Gardens greenhouses, as well as collections curated by our team of horticulturists.

  • Our Best In Show Agastasche Collection features five favorite Agastache cultivars introduced by David Salman, perfect for the avid waterwise perennial collector.
  • Our Agastache Collection features four bestselling Agastache cultivars with a range of sizes and flower colors, perfect for adding layers of color to a garden.

The Kudos™ Series

The Kudos™ Agastache series are hybrid cultivars selected for increased tolerance to moisture and cold. Species native to the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, adapted to tolerate heat and drought, are crossed with Agastache rugosa, a species native to Asia that better tolerates more moisture and colder winters.

Kudos™ plants feature the benefits of both species for a more versatile and weather-tolerant Agastache plant. They are more compact and tidy, and feature dense, long-flowering blooms, holding their colorful calyxes even after flowers have faded. The Kudos™ series exhibits excellent cold hardiness and can be grown across most of the US.

The Poquito™ Series

Poquito™ is a fitting name for the most compact series of Agastache plants available – a whole new way to enjoy this favorite waterwise perennial. These native hybrids are small and tidy, making them a perfect fit for small space gardens, containers, and sidewalk gardens. Give these Agastache plants the front row of your garden for non-stop blooms and pollinators.

Agastache 'Desert Sunrise'

Shop All Agastache Plants & Collections

Now that you know how to choose the right plants for your garden, shop our outstanding selection of Agastache plants.