Growing Agastache Desert Sunrise & Agastache Acapulco® Salmon and Pink
by David Salman
Two Old Plant Friends Return, Bringing You Color, Fragrance and Hummingbirds
Fragrance. A wonderful attribute that has attracted mankind to aromatic plants since the dawn of time. As gardeners, we get to have the fun of growing these plants in addition to enjoying their fragrance. Many of us are familiar with herbal plants such as lavender, rosemary and scented geraniums.
The Agastache are a group of very showy flowering perennials that have equally aromatic leaves and flowers. As a group they have only recently been introduced into widespread cultivation over the past 5 to 10 years, but because of their often startling beauty, the Agastache have really captured people's attention and their desire to grow them.
Growing Agastache in the Right Spot
The key to growing the Agastache (Hummingbird Mints) is to find a hot, sunny planting site with quick draining soil of low fertility. Clay and rich, water-retentive loamy soils are a poor match for these plants.
Regionally, the drier climates of the Great Plains, Intermountain West and West Coast are where Agastache are most happy and long lived. For gardeners further east with too much rain or those with the wrong garden soil, Agastache are very successfully enjoyed as showy potted plants like zonal Geraniums. Use them in your container gardens mixed with annuals, ornamental grasses and other perennials. They bloom the first growing season and will bring hummingbirds right up to your outdoor living spaces with their nectar-rich flowers. A living hummingbird feeder in a pot!
Two of the Very Best Agastaches
I've been growing, breeding and selecting new Agastache varieties for many years. This has familiarized me with the best varieties and how they like to be grown. And I'm pleased to have two of my favorites back in the catalog. Both these cultivars have intriguing multi-colored flower spikes in shades orange and pink, and mint scented blooms and foliage.
Agastache Desert Sunrise™ - This is my first hybrid Hummingbird Mint released by High Country Gardens in 2000. A garden cross between two of the best and most growable species, Agastache cana and A. rupestris, Desert Sunrise™ is a big, vigorous grower sometimes topping out at nearly four feet in height. It's also interesting to note that this vigorous hybrid has enhanced nectar production, more copious than either of the parent plants, and is a favorite of the hummingbirds. Its larger size and robust growth habit make it a great companion plant for Blue Spire Russian Sage, Silver Ironweed and Blue Mist Spirea.
FlowerKisser® Arizona Snow Agastache (Agastache urticifolia 'Alba') is a pure white flowered form of mountain hyssop, selected for its exceptional cold hardiness and nectar-rich flowers. Stunning flowers and fragrant foliage make this a must-have addition to attract native bees and butterflies. Its very upright growth habit make it a wonderful choice for the perennial border. Deer and rabbit resistant. A 2020 High Country Gardens Introduction.
‘Korean Zest’ Agastache (Agastache rugosa), with its refreshing mint scented flowers and foliage, blooms all season and attracts an amazing number of bees and butterflies to its compact spikes of blue-violet flowers. Long-lasting blooms from late spring to early fall make ‘Korean Zest’ a "must have" perennial in the pollinator garden. Aromatic foliage makes Agastache deer and rabbit resistant. Also known as Hummingbird Mint or Hyssop.
Agastache rupestris (Licorice Mint Hyssop) is one of the best, most durable species in the Agastache family. With smoky orange flowers held by lavender calyxes, the entire plant is scented like licorice and mint. A 1996 High Country Gardens introduction. Drought resistant/drought tolerant perennial plant (xeric).
Agastache Glowing Embers is a fantastic selection of Licorice Mint Hyssop (Hummingbird Mint) with fragrant foliage and glowing orange-red tubular flowers that are a favorite with hummingbirds. Plant in containers to enjoy this plant in the eastern U.S. Exclusive. 24-26" tall x 24-28" wide.