Thursday, March 31, 2011

Licorice Kiss

A recent addition to My Florida Backyard is blooming wonderfully this week. Agastache rupestris, sometimes called licorice mint, has delicately colored blooms in shades of pink, lavender, and apricot.

A. rupestris is native to hot dry regions like Arizona, so it's best suited to sunny, well-drained locations here in Florida. It may struggle in the wettest parts of summer if the soil remains too moist. It's incredibly drought-tolerant once established, so it's especially suited for Florida's spring and fall months where the temperatures are warm and the rains infrequent.

The foliage of this plant, as you might have guessed from the common name, has a licorice scent when crushed. You may notice a resemblance to some types of salvia; in fact, both of these plants are part of the mint family (Lamiaceae). The blooms of A. rupestris are attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds - in fact, I came around the corner earlier this week to find a monarch nectaring at the blossoms.

Any plant that draws butterflies is A-OK with us, and the added bonus of these beautiful pastel blooms makes Agastache a welcome addition to My Florida Backyard.

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