Agastache / giant hyssop
Common Name: Giant Hyssop
Many species are highly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies as well as long-tongued bumble bees.
Agastache species are highly attractive to a variety of long-tongued bumble bees, as well as butterflies and hummingbirds. The deep tubular flowers provide an excellent nectar source for new bumble bee queens appearing in late summer, and seeking to build up their energy reserves before hibernating for the winter.
Throughout most of North America, except Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana
Several native and numerous hybrid species are routinely available and can be grown in most parts of the U.S. and Canada. Most are sun-loving and can be fairly drought-tolerant, once established. Most Agastache species favor well-drained soils and many varieties can be grown in containers.
Ranges from 2 to 6 feet, depending upon species, with 2 to 5-inch flower spikes
Full sun to partial shade, depending upon species
Low to average, depending upon species
Agastache foeniculum (blue giant hyssop or anise hyssop), which is native to the northern U.S. and Canada, is a popular garden plant with bluish purple flower spikes, growing 2 to 4 feet.
Agastache scrophularifolia (purple giant hyssop), native to the eastern U.S., is a tall attractive plant (up to 6 feet) good for the back of the garden, having long purple flower spikes that provide an excellent nectar source for many bee and butterfly species.
Agastache rupestris (threadleaf giant hyssop), native to the southwest U.S., is a very heat and drought-tolerant species, forming a dense, 3 by 3 foot bush with pale orange blossoms and gray foliage. A favorite of hummingbirds, it makes an excellent landscape plant, particularly striking when combined with lavender or Russian sage.