Time to try Agastache
Amateur Gardening|August 21, 2021
If you want plants for late-season colour that provide nectar for butterflies and bees, why not try something different with the gorgeous agastache, says Louise Curley
Louise Curley
THERE are a whole host of plants, such as asters, heleniums and dahlias, that add a splash of colour to the late summer and autumn garden. However, if you’re looking for something a bit different to pep up your planting then it’s worth giving agastache a try.

Also known as hyssop, agastache is a member of the mint family and has similar shaped leaves that have an aniseed scent. These plants are native to China, Japan, the USA and Mexico, where they thrive on poor soil that’s well drained. In British gardens they struggle with cold, wet winters, which means they tend to be short-lived perennials. Yet their flower power is hard to beat, with their nectar-rich blooms being especially popular with bees and butterflies (and hummingbirds in the Americas).

From midsummer through to the first frosts, they pump out tall stems that tend to form fat bottlebrush-like heads made up of small flowers. Some of the more tender species have looser flowerheads consisting of longer tubular blooms. While the most commonly grown varieties made popular in prairie-style plantings by designers such as Piet Oudolf have purple flowers, there’s a good range, including white, yellow, shades of pink and several exotic shades of orange. They tend to grow to 7090cm (27-36in) tall, but plants from the Kudos range developed recently in the USA are more compact and have been bred to be more tolerant of cold, wet soil.

Lovers of good drainage

For the best chance of success, plant agastache in a sunny site in soil that’s either free-draining or has had plenty of grit added to it. They’re generally pest and disease-free, although mildew can be a problem in humid, damp weather. Their love of good drainage makes these plants an ideal choice for gravel gardens and Mediterranean-style borders, while the more compact types will also be happy growing in containers.

Agastache are easy to grow from seed and if they’re sown early enough, in late winter (a heated propagator will help with germination), they will flower in their first summer. If you have gaps in your border now, though, there will be a good selection to choose from at your local garden centre.

Where to buy

bethchatto.co.uk 01206 822007

chilternseeds.co.uk 01491 824675

crocus.co.uk 01344 578111

farmyardnurseries.co.uk 01559 363389

sarahraven.com 0345 092 0283

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