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Hooray for Hyssops

Hooray for Hyssops

By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

Hey campers. Time to scrape that crappy snow away from your brain and imagine yourself in high summer surrounded by mounds of gorgeous agastache! The fragrant foliage emanates an intoxicating minty/menthol scent in the hottest of weather and the flowers… the flowers can come in every hue in the rainbow and continue to shower with flower power until frost. Try that for size, salvia!

Speaking of sizes, the gene-generators at Terra Nova Nurseries have created a full spectrum of sizes as well as tasty flower colors. Native to New Mexico, Arizona, Northern Mexico and the high desert in Oregon, these herbs can tolerate the heat like no other. A Korean species grants extreme cold hardiness and humidity resistance. Drought resistance is a given, but all will take to the posh venue of the home garden.

These aromatic dreamboats all hover in the 22-inch range, except for ‘Morello’ which grows to three feet and ‘Blue Boa’ (not shown) can tower at four feet tall! A four-inch pot can easily grow into a full-sized plant in a single season. The larger-than-normal flowers do have a fragrance and are swarmed by pollinators when the dinner bell has rung. Hummers are especially drawn to the nectar-rich flowers and bright colors. Great support flowers when planted in containers. Wanna see a few? Here ya go.

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Agastache ‘Kudos Ambrosia’

Creamy coconut, pale orange and light rose pink spikes have a charming, airy appearance. Low, tight mounds perform as a filler in containers or are lovely as a mass garden planting. Flower colors change constantly, blending well with almost any color in the spectrum. When planted in good soil, continuous flushes of flowers draw bees and other pollinators in like magic. Height and width is typically 16 inches but will rise to 22 inches in bloom. Strongest bloom starts in June and continues through September. Happiest in full sun, it will reward users from U.S.D.A. Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 10 with flowers from May to October. Beautiful en-masse.

Learn more: Agastache 'Kudos Ambrosia'

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Agastache ‘Kudos Gold’

Exhibits all the same great traits of the other KUDOS™ members but adds a warm gold color to the series. Forming a full mound, 'Kudos Gold' shows like no other agastache before and rounds out the KUDOS™ family nicely. Foliage is a medium mint green color and has the characteristic honey-licorice-mint scent. If you live in zones 5 to 10, you can grow this hummingbird-magnet in poor to average soils. The height in bloom is 22 inches, which is perfect for planting en masse in the medium border or as a contrasty filler plant in a container. This form starts blooming in May. That is a bit earlier than some of the others but continues through September.

Learn more: Agastache 'Kudos Gold'

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Agastache ‘Kudos Mandarin’

Cheery, bright orange plumes that last and last. This plant has a “neat as a pin” appearance for many months. Terra Nova's extra hardy breeding (zone 5) has increased the range of conditions that orange agastache thrive in. Orange hyssops used to be only annual forms. These pollinator-attracting plants really bring out the hummers with the very bright flowers. Seventeen inches tall and wide and moves up to 22 inches in full bloom. Full, hot sun is adored by this gem. When compared to other offerings, do note the flower size, profusion of bloom and lovely aromatic foliage.

Learn more: Agastache 'Kudos Mandarin'

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Agastache ‘Morello’

Amazingly huge, dense inflorescences of deep burgundy rose that bloom from spring through fall. Showy, dark foliage in cool temperatures extend the beauty. 'Morello' has a strongly upright habit that forms multiple crowns quickly. Good mildew tolerance. Loved by bees and hummingbirds. Backs of the leaves are purple which adds a bit more interest. The foliage is much darker than the mint-green leaves of the Kudos series. This is another extended bloomer, flowering from May through October (!) with scads of flowers. The plant dimensions are 27 inches in height, 22 inches in width and a full 33 inches while in flower. It is exceedingly long lived and hardy in zones 5 to 10. Full sun for this one.

Learn more: Agastache 'Morello'

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Agastache ‘Kudos Silver Blue’

Soft and clear light blue flowers are held in plump spikes. 'Kudos Silver Blue' grows in a low mound with refined, deep green foliage. Exceptional winter hardiness and disease-free foliage make this one of the most unique agastache to date. In the picture note how well the color buffers the bright red bloom of the heuchera. It would do equally well cradling a bright red pelargonium. It’s a tad bit taller than the rest of the Kudos clan, reaching to 24 inches tall while in bloom. It is hardy in zones 4 to 9. Blooms appear from June to September (when you are in the garden) and are popular with pollinators.

Learn more: Agastache 'Kudos Silver Blue'

Dan Heims is an award-winning author who lectures throughout the world. He was recently honored by the American Horticultural Society with the Luther Burbank Breeding Award, as well as the Perennial Plant Association’s Award of Merit. He was honored by receiving the Royal Horticultural Society’s Reginald Cory Cup for advancements in breeding.

You may contact Dan at [email protected]


All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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