Saturday, 11 April 2015

Agastache

I used to have a descriptive website which was started around 2006 and then closed down before I started blogging so I have decided that this year, and maybe even next, I might just work my way through the A to Z list that I used and even regurgitate some of the old descriptions and certainly the pictures, interspersed with some more current observations, I hope you approve. It is no coincidence that the subject of the last few posts has begun with 'A', I have been looking round for inspiration as I don't like repeating stuff more than I have to, there is only so much variation in an established garden and having raised nothing new from seed last year the cupboard is a bit bare.

The Agastaches are principally from the southern USA and Mexico and although frequently described  as a hardy perennial are definitely not with me, come on guys in your wildest imagination how does a plant from Mexico become hardy in northern UK? The exception may be the cultivars of Agastache rugosa such as the popular A. rugosa ‘Liquorice Blue’ as the original species originates from Korea and China, the only one that does. Agastache foeniculum just about survives with me more from self-sown seedlings rather than the original plants. There are over 20 species and many different hybrid colour forms, known as Hyssop or Giant Hyssop they are noted for their aromatic foliage and the fact they are bee-magnets.    


Agastache foeniculum
To me the very basic agastache, survives a mild winter but then can disappear for a year and then re-emerge from self-sown plants. Like all agastaches it has the distinctive aromatic foliage the aniseed scent of which I am quite addicted to, probably something to do with an over familiarity with Absinthe.  

Agastache 'Apricot Sprite'
My favourite although there have been better colour forms since, these plants, which although grown as a batch of half-hardy annuals, actually survived the winter and came back much stronger as pictured. Needless to say they succumbed in the following winter, should have taken cuttings!

Agastache foeniculum 'Golden Jubilee'
A rather nice golden leaved form ex. Plant World Seeds where it was discovered. I love PWS, they try to provide fresh seed and are basically a very open and ethical outfit but unfortunately, being based in Devon, they have a habit, along with some less discriminating suppliers, of describing what are to me doubtfully hardy plants as hardy perennials, they also have been known to describe some plants which are essentially monocarpic as perennial.


Agastache foeniculum - white form
I was rather hoping this might be Agastache anisata alba but I am certain it is a white form of A.foeniculum this is what happens when you raise most of your plants from seed.

Agastaches are easily raised from seed, an early sowing inside will give you plants that will flower the same year, in milder areas late spring and autumn cold sowings will give you plants to flower the following year. Cuttings can be taken any time during the growing season but usually late summer. Definitely worth growing although not ideal for my conditions. Like most plants once established they will withstand more extreme conditions.

8 comments:

  1. Certainly not hardy up here either Rick. I've a mountain of Agastache labels describing them as hardy perennials!!! One of my pet hates when plants are mass marketed across the county.
    Would you think that they would come through winter as cuttings Rick? I ask because this winter I managed to get some cuttings from my tender Salvia through winter by storing them on the kitchen windowsill and if I thought the Agastache would do the same, it might be worth me giving it another go.

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one who hates the blanket approach to hardiness, the RHS are meant to have introduced an "improved" scale of hardiness for the UK but I am yet to see it being used in any local outlets. We know, but apparently they don't, that you can't generalise in this country because a few miles can mean very different conditions not to mention everyone's own micro-climates. The lucky ones are those gardeners who can buy from local nurseries that raise their own stock. There is absolutely no reason why you can't treat Agastaches the same way you have handled your Salvias Angie so good luck for the future.

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  2. I never had much luck with them but that was in my old garden. I have never tried them in my present garden. You post inspires me to do so. A neighbour grows some very healthy Agastache foeniculum. You would think not being hardy in Scotland they certainly would not be here but, with snow cover....Hope springs eternal.

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    1. Best of luck with them if you do try again Alain, you have brought up what is becoming a repetitive theme but the thermal blanket that snow cover gives is so important, and, as I am sure you appreciate, I often wish we had the luxury of it here!

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  3. Sad to say I have never had much luck with them either! I think they are lovely, interesting plants, but they don't like the conditions in my garden!

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    1. I think we are left with raising them as annuals and whatever survives is a bonus.

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  4. Even try to pan you off with them in Aberdeen Rick. I just nipped out to the garden thinking I had planted Agastache last year, turns out it was Stachys, duh!. A to Z of your plants, good idea. I guess my blog is more to do with my personal experience with plants from an amateurs point of view.

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  5. At least you can remember the names Alistair even if they are the wrong ones, I am fine with those genera with which I am already acquainted but now find it difficult to remember any new names which in itself is getting harder with all the reclassification going on. Although I am using the old site it is still very much about my garden rather than any commercial influences.

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