Perennial Favorites

( From upper L-R across: 'Black Adder', 'Giant White Hyssop', 'Anise Hyssop Sunset', 'Tutti-Frutti (center) and 'Raspberry Summer')

( From upper L-R across: 'Black Adder', 'Giant White Hyssop', 'Anise Hyssop Sunset', 'Tutti-Frutti (center) and 'Raspberry Summer')

The Agastache genus falls under the Lamiaceae family.  They are  a species of perennial herbs that are native to North America except for Agastache rugosa or Korean Mint which is native to Asia.  The giant ones are the hardiest (USDA zone 1) of the lot.  They can be propogated by cuttings or seeds.  I’ve found them to be a perennial favorite of the hummingbirds this summer.  The leaves on most cultivars have a nice minty or anise scent.   I enjoy rubbing my hands along the stems to release the aroma.  They’ve become a new obsession with me and here’s my collection.

(From upper L-R across & down: 'Pineapple Sage', 'Mystic Spires', 'May Night', 'East Friesland', 'Wild Thing', 'Purple Knockout', 'Black & Blue' and 'Victoria')

(From upper L-R across & down: 'Pineapple Sage', 'Mystic Spires', 'May Night', 'East Friesland', 'Wild Thing', 'Purple Knockout', 'Black & Blue' and 'Victoria')

Salvia is another one of my perennial favorites from the ornamental to the culinary sage.  This is my largest collection of one genus in the garden.  Some of mine aren’t currently looking their best now since they are past their peak bloom time.    They are part of the same family as the Agastache (Lamiaceae) which includes 900 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals.  The name comes from the latin word “salvere” which means “to save”.  This is due to the its’ long believed healing properties.  Some plants like the ‘Purple Knockout’ is better appreciated for it’s burgundy foliage since the flowers are almost an afterthought.  What are some of your favorite species?


17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by greenwalks on September 1, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Didn’t realize that agastache and salvias were related – makes sense though, thanks for pointing it out! Also didn’t know about the ag.’s scent – I’ll have to go check it out tomorrow, I have a bunch that are perennials in the parking strip that my mom gave me a few years ago. Not sure of their name but they are that lovely sunset hue. I have not had the biggest success with ornamental sages, they seem to not be too hardy for our zone, or a lot that I’ve tried anyway. I was admiring my mom’s Salvia patens ‘Cambridge Blue’ today and that’s a beauty for sure. Love pineapple and tangerine sages although mine have been super slow this year, maybe due to the hard winter. Thanks for the mosaics of your lovelies!

    I didn’t either until I started putting this post together, lol. It does make sense I agree. I bet yours are the ‘Sunset’ like mine. It has a great anise scent to the foliage. My Pineapple Sage is looking healthy but no blooms yet, which is a bit odd. It’s been rather wet this summer though. YW Karen! 🙂


  2. I have several Salvias too………I do enjoy them as well as enjoying the flying friends enjoying them!

    They really are a great way to attract wildlife to the garden. 🙂


  3. Thanks for the info, Racquel. I didn’t realize they were related either. The only agastache that I can get to grow is the herb Anise Hyssop. We’ll see if it even winters over. The salvias like it better here, the purple leaf one has seeded all over the place, like purple periilla only flat! HA Thanks for telling us the name came from its saving qualities as well. It sure saves my late summer garden from a dreadful case of the blahs! 🙂

    You are quite welcome Frances. Glad this post was educational for both of us. 🙂 Hope your Agastache overwinters. Blue Fortune is a good selection and my Sunset is quite sturdy. Thanks for the tip about the purple one volunteering everywhere. Maybe that’s not a bad thing huh? lol It really is a nonstop bloomer in my garden especially in August.


  4. I have to agree with you on the salvias–they are one of my reliable favorites. I planted Mexican Mint Marigold last spring that is doing well so has the possilblility of becoming a favortie of mine, and this year I am loving my ruellia. It has bloomed non stopped and the birds have helped plant more plants just where I want them! 🙂

    Salvias are probably a lifesaver in your climate Linda. Those smaller blossom type plants keep the garden looking colorful come August. Oh I love Ruellia too, hope the birds are generous with the sowing here. 🙂


  5. Both are wonderful plants. Neat on the salvere meaning. Salvia sure can save the garden in the right spot. I like the annual kind and the ‘Blue fortune’ agastache. Have a nice day today!

    No pun intended huh? lol Yep it really is a great plant for the hard to please areas of the garden. Hope you had a nice day too Tina! 🙂


  6. I’m with you on the salvia! It’s one of my favorites! I’m adding new salvias whenever I can find them. I’m a fan of Black and Blue and wish my Salvia lyrata hadn’t been lost beneath the Russian sage, maybe I can find it this fall!

    I knew you were a Salvia fan too Dave. Black & Blue is my favorite at the moment, but I’m always on the lookout for new ones to add as well. Hope you get around to moving your Salvia lyrata this fall. Poor thing! 🙂


  7. Hi Racquel, I love salvias! I have growen many varities over the years, but two of my current favourites are salvia argentea, it has the most beautiful rosettes of silver, fuzzy leaves, (I do not like the flowers and end up cutting them off) and salvia discolor. I planted this in my black garden (former house) and it is gorgeous. Black blossoms with a greeny/white calayx, dark stems, (only an annual in Ontario).

    Wow those varieties sound great too! I love silver foliage and anything with dark stems always catches my eye. 😉


  8. Racquel I think the Agastache smells like root beer. You know me, I like that Black/blue salvia. Yesterday I was outside trying to capture a pic of the Saphire salvia. It’s really pretty too.

    Really? I get more of a licorice scent myself, but that is interesting you smell rootbeer. Hmm… You were the one that turned me on to Black & Blue. Thanks, I love it! I’ve been eyeing that Saphire one as well. lol 🙂


  9. I have become a big fan of Black and Blue. Have lots of Victoria that spreads a bit each year. Your collection is putting on a great show.

    Me too Janet, and the hummers are really happy too. I’ll have to keep that in mind about Victoria. I’ve never had much success with it. Thanks!


  10. I grew three agastache this year, my favorite is Blue Fortune. It is so dependable and so long blooming.

    In this area most of the sages are annual. Tried several of them this year too. Next year hope to try the black and blue.

    Blue Fortune is a great one, I lost the one I had a few years ago. It was too close to the front door and the bees were a bit much. When I moved it to a better location it wasn’t as happy and died. 😦 Hope you enjoy Black & Blue as much as I have. It’s a hummingbird magnet! 🙂


  11. Agastache is indeed a great genus, one I like a lot (though I only have one at the moment, hmmmmm….)

    Well that’s easily fixed huh? 🙂


  12. I nominated you for a meme today. Come on over to my blog to see what it’s all about.

    Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel

    Thanks for the nomination Cameron. I’ll get my post up sometime tonight. 🙂


  13. Which is your most vigorous agastache? I have been wanting one, but don’t want to fuss over it.

    That would Anise Hyssop ‘Sunset’, it seems pretty low maintenance so far. 🙂


  14. Thanks for the info, Racquel! I’ve been admiring your agastache all season, but I had no idea they were related to salvia. While I have only one agastache–I think it’s anise hyssop–, I do have many of the same salvia you have. “Victoria Blue” has always been one of my favorite annuals, even prettier than the perennials, and now that my first “Black and Blue” has filled out, I’ve grown to love it as well. Oh, and I have a pink one, “Eveline,” that’s new this year. You can’t beat salvia for long-lasting color.

    YW Rose. This was news to be until I started doing a bit of reading about these two. I’m glad you are enjoying your Black & Blue this season. It’s been quite popular with the hummers here lately. How do you like ‘Eveline’? I was eyeballing it in the Bluestone Perennial catalog this past spring. 🙂


  15. Very lovely! I love how you make your pictures into collages. How do you do that? I love salvias too. There are so many varieties. I planted quite a few in my garden this year. There’s something about their looks and smell that endear me to them.


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