Gardening

Agastache Foeniculum, Anise Hyssop: Wonderful Licorice Flavored Tea

anise hyssop

Photo Compliments of nwms 1916

Agastache foeniculum is more commonly known as anise hyssop.  This is an upright, clump-forming perennial from the mint family that is native to the upper Midwest and the Great Plains.  You typically find it in prairies, dry upland forested areas, plains and fields.  It grows to a height of 2 to 4 feet tall and is noted for it’s mid to late summer bloom of lavender to purple flowers in terminal spikes and its anise-scented foliage.  Square stems produce ovate to broad-lanceolate dull green leaves (up to 4 inches in length) with toothed margins.

Flowers appear in many-flowered false whorls which are densely packed into showy, cylindrical, terminal flower spikes (3 to 6 inches in length).  Individual, tiny, tubular, two-lipped flowers (each to 1/3 inches in length) have no fragrance.  Flowers are highly attractive to bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.  Anise hyssop is composed of erect branches of mint-and-licorice-scented, medium green leaves ending in fuzzy spikes of small lavender flowers.

How To Make Anise Hyssop Thrive

Agastache foeniculum is easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade.  Your best results are in full sun.  This plant performs well in moist soils, but good soil drainage is absolutely essential.  Plants tolerate dry soils, particularly once plants are established. Deadheading spent flowers will promote additional bloom.  General Anise Hyssop Information

General Anise Hyssop Information

Pests and Diseases

There are no serious insect or disease problems.  Crown/root rot may develop in poorly drained soils. When Anise hyssop is stressed you should watch for rust, powdery mildew, and leaf spots.

Propagation

Divide clumps in spring or transplant self-sown seedlings as they appear.

Garden Uses

This is a great addition to your border gardens, wildflower gardens, herb gardens, butterfly gardens, or meadows.  Flower spikes are also attractive additions to fresh cut or dried arrangements.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Common Name: Anise hyssop
  • Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Hardiness Zones: Zone 4 to 8
  • Height: 2 to 4 feet
  • Width: 18 to 36 inches
  • Bloom Time: June to September
  • Bloom Description: Lavender to purple
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Water: Dry to medium
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Leaf: Fragrant (anise or licorice scent)
  • Attracts: Bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies
  • Tolerate: Deer, drought, and dry soils

Popular Herbal Uses

  1. Edible Flower Garnish: The flowers are edible adding a lighter anise flavor (licorice) than the leaves and are a wonderful addition to salads.
  2. Tea (fresh or dried): The leaves and flowers make a delicious black licorice flavored tea.
  3. Cordial: Hyssop is a traditional ingredient in absinthe and makes for a tasty homemade infusion.
  4. Relaxing & Healing Bath Infusion: Put fresh or dried leaves in a square of cheesecloth and hang from the tub faucet, letting the water flow over the herbs.  The scent from the hyssop will help calm frazzled nerves.
  5. Dream Pillows: Anise hyssop is supposed to stop nightmares so add some to dream pillows to encourage sweeter dreams.

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16 Comments

  1. Great info of this plant! Very pretty and easy to grow.:)
    I’ll check if I can get the seeds or plants from our local nursery. Thank you, Charlie!

  2. Nothing quite as delicious of the taste of Anise for me ~ great post, and worthy to taste in a tea. 🙂

  3. I do love liquorice tea!

  4. I use to grow this when I had a big garden and why I never made tea I don’t know. Having a more confined garden now I stay away from the mint family even though I love it.

  5. I planted this last season and I just love it. I didn’t know you could make tea..

  6. LIcorice flavored tea? Not sure about that. While I love plants with a licorice fragrance, it is not my favorite flavor to taste. the plant, however, is lovely and has some fine qualities.

  7. We have several of these and absolutely love them both because they’re beautiful and because the bees go crazy over them! Not a fan of anything tasting remotely like licorice but the husband definitely is 🙂

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