At last, fall weather has arrived. The days are still plenty warm, but the nights are generally cooler, and good breezes have made working outdoors pleasant again. We spent the weekend cleaning up the backyard and putting in a few new plants. We love to hit the markdown rack at the Lowe's garden center, where perfectly good plants that just need some love are often available at a bargain. This week, we found some Mexican Sage that just needed to be cut back and watered well (more on that in another post) along with some wonderful Anise Hyssop plants.
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) isn't a true hyssop but, like the Agastache rupestris we planted last spring, it's a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). The tiny flowers attract bees and butterflies by the dozens, and humans enjoy the licorice scent of the foliage.
Anise Hyssop is native to the northern part of the U.S. and Canada. That makes it perfect for growing in Florida in the cooler months. If we cover it from hard freezes, we should have it right through spring. It likes sunny spots for best flowering, and will need a little supplemental watering during the driest spells. Cutting back the flower stalks after they bloom will help encourage further flowers. Northern growers note that this plant re-seeds prolifically, but I don't expect that to be too much of a problem here, as it is unlikely to survive the hot wet summers.
At the butterfly garden where I work, Anise Hyssop is one of the biggest draws for butterflies. Here in My Florida Backyard, we were especially pleased to get these plants because they were marked down to half-price ($5 each for plants in 2.25 gallon pots) even though they seemed to be in perfect condition. They were a fantastic bargain and are helping to replenish the butterfly garden as we head into the wonderful months ahead.