by High Country Gardens
Agastache rupestris Glowing Embers®
I started gardening and selecting improved Agastache back in the early 1990's, when I purchased a seed packet of Agastache rupestris (Licorice Mint Hyssop) collected from a colony in southwestern Arizona. I had been growing Agastache cana (Texas Hummingbird Mint), a rare native from West Texas and Southwestern New Mexico and come to greatly appreciate both the beautiful and strongly aromatic flowers and foliage and the plant's attractiveness to hummingbirds.
So it was with great anticipation that I sowed seeds of Agastache rupestris. It didn't disappoint! Once it had grown it to flowering size in my Santa Fe garden, I realized that this incredible, but horticulturally unknown species had great potential. We immediately began to produce larger quantities of seed so it could be offered through the High Country Gardens catalog, which happened in spring 1996.
Origins of Glowing Embers®
In the meantime, as I continued to acquire seed and plants of other native Agastache species, I purchased a small quantity of Agastache rupestris seed collected from a different location along the western border of New Mexico in Grant County. When the plants from this New Mexico location bloomed, I immediately realized that they had much darker orange flowers than the Arizona population that I started with. I selected several plants with the darkest flowers for use as stock plants and, after harvesting seed from these glowing orange beauties, gave this selection the name "Glowing Embers®.
But I lost track of the plants as I worked on introducing other new Agastache species and hybrids. Some years later, I found the seeds and grew it again to plant into my home garden. And after many years of enjoyment at home, I finally decided it was time to get this incredible perennial back into production and onto the High Country Gardens website. So here it is for spring 2015.
Glowing Embers is easily grown when provided with:
- Arid conditions. (Best in parts of the country that get less than about 25" of precipitation annually.)
- A "lean" (low nutrient content), well-drained soil and full sun exposure.
The plant is cold hardy to USDA zone 5 and is best planted in the spring in zones 5 and 6 so it has lots of summer heat to develop its crown and grow deep roots.
- Leave the plant standing over the winter for improved cold hardiness and cut it back to the low mound of green foliage at the base of the stems in mid-spring.
- Fertilize only in the fall with a handful of Yum Yum Mix and compost, which should be scratched into the soil surface and watered in.
- Mulch with an inch deep layer of small sized 3/8" gravel (crushed is best).
- Water no more than once a week once established.
These plants look great with Glowing Embers and preferred the same growing conditions.
- Re-blooming English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): 'Sharon Roberts', 'Buena Vista', 'Pastor's Pride'
- French Hybrid lavender (Lavandula intermedia): 'Grosso' and 'Gros Bleu'
- Cold hardy Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): 'Alcalde Cold Hardy', 'Arp'
- Native Salvia species and hybrids: S. greggii 'Furman's Red', Salvia azurea, Salvia reptans
- Evening Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa)
- Sundrops (Calylophus serrulatus, C. hartwegii 'High Plains Yellow')
- Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)
- Ornamental grasses: Undaunted® Ruby Muhly (Muhlenbergia reverchonii), 'Blonde Ambition' Blue Grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis)
- Cacti and succulents: Claret Cup (Echinocereus triglochidiatus), Pad cacti (Opuntia species), Century plant (Agave species)
Text and Photos By David Salman
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