A perennial flowering plant with culinary and medicinal properties.
Although it is known as Anise Hyssop, it is only remotely related to Hyssop and even more distantly to Anise. It is in the Mint Family.
Anise Hyssop has an aesthetic landscaping value, its attractive blue-lavender spiked flowers are long lasting and attract bees, butterflies, and humming birds.
Also called licorice mint, blue giant hyssop and hummingbird Mint, it is used to brew Anise Hyssop Tea.
It is a native North American plant, indigenous to the prairie lands where it grows in clusters. It reaches a height of 2 – 3 Feet with a spread of about 1 to 1 1/2 feet. Plants should be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart for a manicured effect slightly closer for a natural clustered effect.
It can be started from seed, seedlings for transplant, or cuttings in the spring, summer or fall. Once planted in the garden it should begin producing flowers in its second year, assuming it is otherwise healthy and in a suitable environment.
USDA zones 3-9. Full sun is best, partial shade is tolerable. Soil should be reasonably fertile, don’t waste your time or money adding additional fertilizer to the soil as it is not really necessary, it is extremely hardy in this respect and tolerant of a wide range of soil types. A smidgen of organic mulch wouldn’t hurt though.
Occasionally you may have to trim the plants back somewhat as it has a tendency to grow overly tall and top heavy. It recovers rather quickly and re-flowers.
In addition to re-flowering it also self seeds, so after a few seasons, you may have more volunteer plants than you are comfortable with.
If planting from seeds, you will achieve a much better germination rate if the seeds are cold stratified. Cold stratified is done by exposing the seeds to cold moist conditions between layers of soil or peat in order to simulate the winter season.
They can also be sown in the fall in anticipation of spring germination.
Unlike many seeds that germinate in darkness, anise hyssop needs some light to germinate, so don’t plant them too deeply – only about a pinky knuckle deep will suffice.
They can also be propagated from root cuttings. Root cuttings should be taken from immature plants. You can use partially mature stems as well.
They don’t have many pest problems, occasionally slugs. Deer and rabbits don’t seem to be too fond of them and generally don’t bother anise hyssop.
Anise Hyssop Leaves can be harvested at anytime, in moderation if you plan of keeping the plant growing. It is best to harvest the leaves in dry weather before the sun is beating down in all its glory. Harvest leaves fresh from the Plant Base first.
Anise hyssop flowers can be harvested fresh as needed, or collected en masse for drying and storage.