Did you know Agastache foeniculum, also known as anise hyssop or giant hyssop is a bee magnet in our ecoregion 231? They are also favored by butterflies and occasionally, the ruby-throated hummingbird. Read on.
Name: Agastache foeniculum
Common: Anise or Giant Hyssop
Zones: 4 – 8
Size: 2 to 4 feet tall and 1.5 to 3 feet wide
Conditions: Full sun to part shade, dry to medium water, deer tolerant
Attracts: generalists bees, butterflies, and occasionally hummingbirds. The specialist bee, a small black sweat bee, Dufoubea monardae, is a specialists of giant hyssop, Agastache spp., in the Midwest.
Would you believe we don’t have Agastache foeniculum, growing in the Bee Better Teaching Garden? It’s not for the lack of trying. For whatever reason, I’ve not been able to get it to establish. Each year I plant hyssop, and never see it the following year. And given how important these flowers for the butterflies, bees, and birds. It’s still worth a try every year.
At work in the Fearrington Gardens, hyssop loves it! It is truly a sight to behold, even making this gardener feel a bit inadequate. Go figure, It’s not one of the gardens in my care 🙂 Ha! Still I can admire it in the Herb Garden. There is always next year. Even though I don’t have much room left in the Bee Better Teaching Garden, this is a plant to make room for. It’s just too important of a pollen and nectar plant to go without.
There are over a dozen species of Agastache spp. native to the USA. Easily grown, given the right conditions. Deadhead spent flowers to promote additional bloom for the bees and butterflies. Plants will spread by rhizomes and will easily self seed in optimum growing conditions.
A mass planting of Agastache spp., will provide nectar and pollen for your bees. The sugar content reportedly exceeds 40%.
Agastache honey is light in color, with a slightly minty flavor, and resistant to granulation.
On the scale of 0 to 5, pollen and nectar content are 1 and 3, respectively.