Blue Fortune Anise-Hyssop packs a visual punch in the garden with its upright architecture and season-long color. Part of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, Blue Fortune Anise-Hyssop’s stems are enrobed with fuzzy leaves that have a pleasant licorice scent. Flower spikes are covered with a profusion of vivid lavender-blue tube-shaped blooms that attract many pollinators. You may also know this as Blue Fortune Hummingbird Mint.
A low maintenance choice for the garden, Blue Fortune Anise-Hyssop is easily grown in full sun, in average-to-dry, or well-drained soils. It can tolerate poor, acidic soil but performs best in alkaline environments – a great choice for Wisconsin! This cultivar is more tolerant of cold winters than other Agastache, resulting from a cross between Agastache rugosa and Agastache foeniculum (Blue Giant Hyssop).
When combined with other perennials, planted in drifts, or along fences and borders, Blue Fortune Anise-Hyssop adds texture, height, color, and drama to any garden, especially later in the season when other perennials have faded. Valued by florists for their height and line, cut flowers are great in bouquets or for dried arrangements.
Vibrating with pollinator activity, Blue Fortune Anise-Hyssop is perfect for wildflower, butterfly, and prairie gardens. Pollen from the flower’s anthers sprinkle onto the heads and thoraces of bees as they probe the flowers. A disc at the base of the flower secretes nectar, attracting long-horned bees, bumblebees, small resin bees, leafcutter bees, bee flies, and soldier beetles. Butterflies explore the tubular flowers for nectar, including Silver Spotted Skippers, Peck’s Skipper butterflies, and the Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly.
Requiring minimal care, Blue Fortune Anise-Hyssop will re-bloom if you cut spent flowers down to several inches. Within a few weeks, the plant will regrow a fresh crop of leaves and flowers. A sterile cultivar, it doesn’t self-seed or spread, which is why it’s a long bloomer. Once established, water occasionally; more in extreme heat or when planted in containers.
Generally disease-free, Blue Fortune Anise-Hyssop is only occasionally affected by leaf spot, powdery mildew, and rust. Good drainage is a must to prevent crown rot, a soil-borne fungus that thrives in wet conditions. Deer and rabbits are turned off by the fragrant foliage and usually leave it alone.
The genus name Agastache comes from the Greek words ‘agan’ meaning “very much” and stachys meaning “an ear of wheat” in reference to the flower spikes that resemble a stalk of wheat.
Most lore about Anise-Hyssop refers to its use as a remedy for respiratory infections. Native Americans considered Anise-Hyssop to be an important source of nutrition and medicine and were often compounded into a syrup for coughs.
Licorice- and lemon-scented leaves are edible and can be used in teas, salads, and bakery items. It’s said to taste like a subtle combination of mint and anise, with a sugary sweetness.
To provide visual interest with varying heights, interplant Blue Fortune Anise-Hyssop with Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.), Goldenrod (Solidago spp.), ornamental grasses, Coneflower (Echinacea spp.), Butterflyweed (Asceplias tuberosa), Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), and Sedum (Sedum spp.).
Blue Fortune Anise-Hyssop also pairs well with finer-textured plants such as Helen’s Flower (Helenium spp.), Tickseed (Coreopsis spp.), and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).