by David Salman
An Exciting New Hybrid Hummingbird Mint From the Garden of Founder David Salman: Agastache 'Fall Fiesta'
Hardy in zones 5-9, Full Sun
I have had a keen interest in the fantastic flowering perennials known as the Hummingbird Mints (Agastache) for more than twenty five years. My fascination with this incredible genus continues and I'm pleased to release Agastache 'Fall Fiesta', a new native hybrid discovered in my Santa Fe home garden several years ago.
Of huge size, Agastache 'Fall Fiesta' has orange and pink flowers held by showy rose-pink calyxes (that hold their dark color after flowering has finished). The large flower spikes will reach 4 to 4 ½ feet in height and the dark green foliage has a slightly sweet, minty scent. Judging by its appearance and the scent of the foliage, I believe that 'Fall Fiesta' is a cross between 'Ava' (Agastache cana x Agastache barberi) and Glowing Embers® (a selection of Agastache rupestris).
Being a hybrid, the nectar content of the flowers is very high and the hummingbirds go crazy for it. Of all the Agastache I've gardened with, 'Fall Fiesta' stays in flower later into the fall than any other Agastache I've grown; thus the origin of the name. This is an invaluable trait that prolongs late season color and keeps the hummingbirds and other pollinators when their other nectar sources are done blooming.
Plant Agastache 'Fall Fiesta' and all its wonderful companions with full sun in a lean (infertile), sandy, rocky, loam or clay-loam type soil. Fertilize the soil with Yum Yum Mix and a little compost applied in mid-fall. Mulch with a coarse cotton burr, pine needle, pecan shell or crushed gravel mulch to keep the soil a little cooler and protect from drying out too quickly.
Companion Plants for Agastache 'Fall Fiesta'
Being a giant plant, 'Fall Fiesta' should be planted with other large growing late season blooming perennials.
- 'Gros Bleu' French hybrid lavender(Lavandula intermedia 'Gros Bleu')
- 'Santa Fe' Maximilian's sunflower (Helianthus maximiliana 'Santa Fe')
- 'Blue Spires' Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Blue Spires')
- 'Pink Flamingo' Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia 'Pink Flamingo')
- 'Standing Ovation' Little Bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium 'Standing Ovation')
- 'Blonde Ambition' Blue Grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition')
A Short History Of The Beloved Agastache (Hummingbird Mint)
At the beginning of my work with these stunning wildflowers, there was Sally Walker, owner of Southwestern Native Seeds. Based in Tucson, AZ she was very focused at that time on collecting seeds of the various Agastache species, many of them rare and not being grown in cultivation.
They are scattered across the vast territories of New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico, which Sally and husband trekked across in a VW bus. My seed purchases from her company provided me with all of the best plants in the genus. And it was from these seed collections in the early 1990s, that I have introduced new species and garden hybrids.
Thank goodness that the wild collected seeds of all these incredible species appeared when I was ready to explore these fascinating plants. This would not be possible now. Many species native to northern Mexico are no longer accessible. Drug cartel control over much of the northern part of that country makes it impossibly dangerous to trek deep into rural hills and mountains in search of seed. Populations of species found north of the border in AZ, NM and TX are more accessible but very difficult to find. Years of climate change intensified drought and habitat degradation from grazing have greatly reduced wild populations.
Past Hummingbird Mint (Agastache) Introductions
- Over the many years of working with Agastache, I have introduced the following species and hybrids through High Country Gardens:
- Agastache aurantiaca 'Shades of Orange' (2001, no longer in production)
- Agastache aurantiaca 'Just Peachy' (2001, no longer in production)
- Agastache 'Ava' (2005)
- Agastache cana 'Rosita' (2007)
- Agastache 'Desert Solstice' (2013)
- Agastache Desert Sunrise® (2000)
- Agastache neomexicana (2003)
- Agastache rupestris (1995)
- Agastache rupestris Glowing Embers® (circa 1998)
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