spikey dark blue bottlebrush like flowers of the
Black Adder agastache bring in numerous
butterflies like these Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.
Adder is bring in butterflies like there is no tomorrow.
The anise hyssop has been one of my favorite perennials
for years not only for the bottlebrush-like spikes of
blue flowers but also for attracting every bee and
butterfly in the neighborhood. Iíve treasured Blue
Fortune and Honey Bee Blue, but now that we are in peak
butterfly season in Savannah, Ga., it is Black Adder
that has captured my heart.
planted Blue Fortune first and they did everything we
wanted. But I jumped at the opportunity when I had a
chance to get a flat of the Black Adders. We put them in
our daylily garden, where I parented them not only with
daylilies but society garlic, Kimís Knee High
Echinacea and Silky Gold asclepias. The marriage has
been absolutely heavenly.
Adder is similar to Blue Fortune in that it is an anise
hyssop hybrid. The parents are the U.S. native Agastache
foeniculum and the Korean Agastache rugosa. The
resulting cross is an award winner in my opinion and
should become your must-have plant for the future.
lovers have been growing anise hyssop for years and
relishing not only its culinary properties but its
beauty and tough nature. Beekeepers and connoisseurs
treasure the honey produced from anise hyssop, and this
cross keeps all of the great traits from both parents. Iíve
noticed that as I walk this garden I do get more of the
fragrance permeating the air. It is very pleasing and
even more so when I take the opportunity to take some
cut flowers or even do a little deadheading.
speaking Agastache is related to other well-known garden
plants like salvia and coleus. It is hardy from zones 3
to 9 meaning virtually everyone can grow it. The
staggering temperatures that we experienced this summer
only seemed to make the plant bloom better.
Adder seems a little more compact in habit, reaching 24
to 30 inches tall plus. With this height try grouping
them in informal drifts, letting them serve as a
terrific partners for the complementary orange and gold
gloriosa daisies. Pink, purple and blue will look
equally stunning. Our partnership with echinacea and
milkweeds has kept us in a state of butterfly feeding
a site in full sun for best blooming and to keep the
plants compact and better branched. The soil should be
fertile and well drained. Wet feet will spell doom for
the anise hyssop during the winter, so incorporate
organic matter to loosen the soil or plant on raised
beds. Consider planting after the last spring frost, in
full sun spacing 18 to 24 inches apart.
the plant is drought tolerant, watering during prolonged
dry periods will pay dividends with added flower
production. If you have an established clump, feed with
spring growth using a light application of a
slow-release, fertilizer. Another application in
mid-summer will keep the plants at peak for the fall.
Adder responds well to any cutting back, so feel free to
do so if the plants begin to look a little leggy or you
simply wish they were bushier. Itís funny the branches
I cut always go unnoticed by others.
Adder is a great choice for cottage gardens, herb
gardens and the butterfly garden or backyard wildlife
habitat. Despite their being such persevering beautiful
perennials, they are not astaple at garden centers.
Start your search now, and you will be ready for spring.