The Agastache Kudos™ Series: Planting a Pollinator Paradise For Bees, Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Agastache Kudos™ Mandarin is a compact-growing plant, perfect for containers. Agastache Kudos™ Mandarin is a compact-growing plant, perfect for containers.
Agastache Kudos™ Mandarin is a compact-growing plant, perfect for containers.

 

By David Salman, High Country Gardens Chief Horticulturalist

I first became familiar with Agastache in the early 1990’s when I planted Agastache cana (Texas Hummingbird Mint).  At that time they were an obscure and infrequently grown genus of perennials. But, by the end of the growing season, I was smitten. The unique beauty of the flowers, the wonderful sweet herbal scent of the plant’s foliage, and its incredible popularity with the hummingbirds in my garden had convinced me that these plants deserved more attention. 

All the members of this genus are native to North America (With the exception of one species Agastache rugosa, Korean Hyssop). The various species found in the Eastern US have smaller flowers and are pollinated primarily by bees and butterflies. The various species found in the Western US and northern Mexico have larger, showier flowers that are pollinated primarily by hummingbirds.

My introduction of Agastache rupestris (Licorice Mint Hyssop) through the High Country Gardens catalog in 1996 was a milestone that caught the attention of gardeners, nurseries and plant breeders across the country.

This rare species from southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona, only known to a few botanists at the time, was selected as a Plant Select® winner in 1997, and became instantly popular. Its appeal has continued over the years and it’s now grown internationally in Europe and across North America. The popularity of Agastache rupestris eventually caught the attention of professional plant breeders, and over the past 10 to 15 years, there have been many new Agastache hybrids and seed-grown cultivars introduced to gardeners on both sides of the Atlantic.

Agastache rupestris. Photo by Saxon Holt.Agastache rupestris. Photo by Saxon Holt.
Agastache rupestris. Photo by Saxon Holt.

Three Agastache Kudos™ Selections Available From High Country Gardens

Dan Heims, owner of Terra Nova Nursery in Portland, OR has been a visionary breeder of perennial plants, and is renowned for his groundbreaking breeding work with Heuchera (Coral Bells) and Tiarella (Foamflower).

About a decade ago, he became enamored with Agastache, and with his team of plant breeders, began work on the creation of new garden worthy hybrids. I’ve been very impressed with Terra Nova’s ‘Blue Boa’, a, tall, long-blooming lavender-purple flowered hybrid that we’ve offered through High Country Gardens since 2017.

So we decided to add some more of their hybrids to the High Country Gardens line-up, the Kudos™ series. The Terra Nova breeders had several primary goals on which they focused to breed the Kudos™ series.

Agastache Kudos™ plants have:

  • A compact and bushy form - much more compact than other Agastache
  • A range of bright and unusual flower colors.
  • Improved cold hardiness over a wider range of the US (especially wetter parts of the country).
  • Adapted well to growing in areas that have hot, humid summer weather.
Agastache Kudos™ AmbrosiaAgastache Kudos™ Ambrosia
Agastache Kudos™ Ambrosia

Agastache Kudos™ Ambrosia (PP#25,614) has multi-colored flowers on compact flower spikes.  The flowers are a mix of creamy coconut, pale orange, and light rose-pink.

Agastache Kudos™ GoldAgastache Kudos™ Gold
Agastache Kudos™ Gold

Agastache Kudos™ Gold (PP#26,410) is a rare yellow-blooming variety, with an abundance of showy golden-yellow flowers on compact flower spikes.

Agastache Kudos™ Mandarin Agastache Kudos™ Mandarin
Agastache Kudos™ Mandarin

Agastache Kudos™ Mandarin (PP#25,381) is very showy, with eye-catching bright orange flowers on compact flower spikes.

Garden Care of Kudos™ and Other Agastache

  • Plant them in a well drained garden loam (avoid clay soils) in full sun. 
  • Leave the stems standing over the winter months and cut back hard in mid-spring to a height of 3 to 4 inches.  In early to mid-spring, there will be a tight mound of leaves at the top of the crown. Remove the old stems from the previous year just above the new foliage.
  • Don’t over-feed; a fall top dressing of compost and Yum Yum Mix is all they need to flourish. Too much high nitrogen fertilizers will shorten their lifespan and make the plants floppy.

Recommended Companion Plants for Kudos™ Agastache

The Kudos varieties are much more compact growers than many of the species and older selections in the trade. Thus they are good choices for the front and middle sections of the perennial border and fit nicely alongside other small to medium sized perennials.  They combine beautifully with ‘Select Blue’ Catmint (Nepeta) and ‘Walker’s Deep Blue’ Catmint (Nepeta), ‘Moonbeam’ Tickseed (Coreopsis), Gayfeather (Liatris) and ‘Ultra Violet’ Salvia (Sage).

Shop Agastache Plants

  1. Agastache Kudos™ Mandarin, Hummingbird Mint, Photo courtesy of TERRA NOVA® Nurseries, Inc.

    Agastache Kudos Mandarin (Hummingbird Mint or Hyssop) has showy, bright-orange flowers on short flower spikes which are highly attractive to hummingbirds. Its compact size and bushy ...

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    Kudos™ Mandarin Agastache Kudos™ Mandarin Hummingbird Mint (Hyssop) Agastache Kudos™ Mandarin PP#25,381
    As low as $12.99 Sale $11.69
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Agastache Kudos Mandarin (Hummingbird Mint or Hyssop) has showy, bright-orange flowers on short flower spikes which are highly attractive to hummingbirds. Its compact size and bushy habit gives it a neat and tidy appearance, while it blooms from early summer through September.
    Learn More
  2. Agastache Kudos™ Gold, Hummingbird Mint, Photo courtesy of TERRA NOVA® Nurseries, Inc.

    Agastache Kudos Gold (Hummingbird Mint or Hyssop) is compact-growing and extremely long-blooming with golden-yellow flowers on short, tidy flower spikes from late spring to September...

    Learn More
    Kudos™ Gold Agastache Kudos™ Gold Hummingbird Mint (Hyssop) Agastache Kudos™ Gold PP#26,410
    As low as $12.99 Sale $11.69
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Agastache Kudos Gold (Hummingbird Mint or Hyssop) is compact-growing and extremely long-blooming with golden-yellow flowers on short, tidy flower spikes from late spring to September. The nectar-rich tubular-shaped flowers are highly attractive to hummingbirds. Kudos Golds yellow flowers are an unusual color for the Agastache family.
    Learn More
  3. Agastache Kudos™ Ambrosia, Hummingbird Mint Hyssop, Photo courtesy of TERRA NOVA® Nurseries, Inc.

    Agastache Kudos Ambrosia (Hummingbird Mint Hyssop) is a compact-growing Agastache hybrid, with long-blooming flower spikes in a delightful changing color mix of creamy coconut, pale ...

    Learn More
    Kudos™ Ambrosia Agastache Kudos™ Ambrosia Hummingbird Mint (Hyssop) Agastache Kudos™ Ambrosia PP#25,614
    As low as $12.99 Sale $11.69
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Agastache Kudos Ambrosia (Hummingbird Mint Hyssop) is a compact-growing Agastache hybrid, with long-blooming flower spikes in a delightful changing color mix of creamy coconut, pale orange and light rose-pink. Blooms early summer through September. Highly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.
    Learn More
  4. Agastache Fall Fiesta Hummingbird Mint close up flowers

    Fall Fiesta Hybrid Hummingbird Mint (Agastache 'Fall Fiesta') is a brand-new hybrid that is impressive for its huge size and tall, head high, spikes of pink and orange flowers that a...

    Learn More
    Fall Fiesta Agastache Fall Fiesta Hummingbird Mint (Hyssop) Agastache Fall Fiesta
    As low as $12.99 Sale $11.69
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Fall Fiesta Hybrid Hummingbird Mint (Agastache 'Fall Fiesta') is a brand-new hybrid that is impressive for its huge size and tall, head high, spikes of pink and orange flowers that appear many weeks later than other Agastache cultivars. An excellent late-season source of nectar for hummingbirds.
    Learn More

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