Agastache 'Ava'

Common Name: giant hyssop 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Rose pink with raspberry calyxes
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Herb, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of some light shade. Good soil drainage is essential. Plants will perform poorly and may not survive winter in hard clay soils that retain moisture. Plants tolerate heat and some dry soils once established. Deadhead spent flowers to promote additional bloom. Agastache hybrids are typically winter hardy to at least USDA Zone 6. Where winter survival is a potential problem, plants should be sited in protected locations (e.g., southern exposures) with leaf and flower stems being left in place over winter for additional protection. Sandy/gravelly mulches will protect plants and help to avoid onset of rot. Hybrids grown from seed will usually not come true.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Agastache, commonly called giant hyssop, is a genus containing about 30 species of upright herbaceous perennials, most of which are native to North America.

Agastache hybrids often have showier flowers and better winter hardiness than species plants. Hybrid flowers come in a variety of different flower colors including shades of red, orange, pink, yellow and white. Hybrids typically feature dense terminal spikes of tiny 2-lipped tubular flowers which bloom mid-summer to fall in many-flowered verticillasters (false whorls) atop 2-4’ tall stiff square stems clad with opposite pairs of serrate, fragrant (anise/licorice scented) gray-green to medium green leaves. Flowers are attractive to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

Genus name comes from the Greek words agan meaning very much and stachys meaning an ear of wheat in reference to the flower spikes.

‘Ava’ is a hybrid between two agastache species (A. cana x A. barberi) that are native to the southwestern U. S. It is noted for its sweetly fragrant flowers and foliage. Tubular, deep rose-pink flowers with raspberry-red calyxes bloom in whorls on erect, salvia-like spikes (to 12” long) atop square stems typically growing to 2-4’ tall. Flowers appear over a long June to September (sometimes to first hard frost) bloom period. Flowers are attractive to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. Leaves have a mint scent, and may be used fresh or dry to flavor teas.

Problems

Crown/root rot may develop in poorly drained soils. No serious insect or disease problems, but watch for rust, powdery mildew and leaf spots. Deer tend to avoid this plant.

Uses

Bold, aromatic, long-blooming perennials for sunny borders, cottage gardens or butterfly gardens. Effective near patios and along walkways. Good cut flower.