October 1, 2009

Agastache Combo of Purple and Orange

Take a mass of airy orange blooms and add a dash of purple spikes. Two agastache have turned into a great combination in my fragrance garden. The foliage is minty, in case you are wondering why I categorize agastache as fragrant. Just brush up against the leaves of agastache aurantiaca 'Navajo Sunset' and the air is filled with the fresh scent.

In addition to the color combination, the flowers have different forms that work well together. The agastache x 'Purple Haze' has wider leaves (typical of a hyssop) and bottlebrush blooms while the agastache aurantiaca has narrow, airy leaves and tiny, tubular blooms.

Why I love agastache - let me count the ways:
  1. It is deer resistant
  2. It is rabbit resistant
  3. It is pest resistant
  4. It is drought tolerant
  5. It blooms from midsummer until fall
  6. It smells good
  7. It is available in many colors
  8. Butterflies love it
  9. Bees love it
  10. Hummingbirds love it

It is best to plant agastache in the spring so that it can get established before winter. The 'Navajo Sunset' and 'Purple Haze' are suitable for zones 6-9 in full sun location with well draining soil. Some agastache varieties can be grown from seeds and others have to be propagated.

In my experience, I've found that the narrow-leaved varieties such as aurantiaca and rupestris need leaner, drier soil and more full sun than the wide-leaved varieties such as 'Blue Fortune', 'Purple Haze', 'Black Adder' and 'Golden Jubilee'. The wide-leaved varieties have done well in rich soil with more watering than the narrow-leaved types. Prolonged winter wetness is a problem for any agastache.

I have added so many new agastache this summer, including official trials for a plant breeder, that I'm excited to see what next summer brings!
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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