Gardeners are notoriously a fickle lot, and picking one favorite is tough, but I do love the Wild Hyssops (one common name) or Hummingbird Mints (another common name.) Most agastaches are native to the West, and the three that are most commonly grown in Colorado, Agastache aurantiaca, Agastache cana, and Agastache rupestris, are native to New Mexico and Texas and Arizona.
There are many agastache cultivars, often crosses between the two species cana and rupestris. They cross easily in the garden. Here’s a picture of one we like in a sea of California poppies. It’s a tough, winter hardy one we called, cleverly, ‘Rye Pink.’ RP came from seed we got from the Denver Botanic Gardens back in the early 90’s. It’s very similar to a new Hummingbird Mint called ‘Joyful’ that we’re growing this year.
Agastaches are fabulous nectar plants. They attract hummingbirds like crazy. From the middle of July until hard frost, they are the top plants for the hummers. The plants produce hundreds of blooms, and each flower is filled with nectar–there’s no comparison to anything else blooming then. Agastaches are drought tolerant, but they do need some rain or irrigation in July and August to bloom well. They are native to the monsoonal areas of New Mexico and Arizona, and getting rain in late summer is their norm. The rest of the year they’re tough as any desert plant.
It’s no surprise that Plant Select has chosen many agastaches for their program over the years: Agastache rupestris; Agastache aurantiaca CORONADO; Agastache cana SONORAN SUNSET; Agastache CORONADO RED—I love and grow them all, although the two CORONADOs have not been as winter hardy for me, for some reason.
Agastaches are loved by butterflies, too, for their nectar. Here’s Rye Pink, again–