blue/purple Agastache cultivar questions

christinmk z5b eastern WAFebruary 3, 2014

So I'm working on this project for work. It involves introducing some new plants to our landscape architects.

One of the plants I'm featuring is going to be Agastache, specifically the foeniculum and rugosa hybrids. I've only had experience with 'Golden Jubilee' and some of the western forms of hyssop (which don't work well here).

I was hoping you guys could share your findings on other foeniculum/rugosa varieties? I'm especially interested on knowing:

1) do they reseed or are they sterile?
2) are they fairly long-lived? How long?
3) have they been reliably hardy in zone 5?

I'm going to highlight the new cultivar 'Blue Boa', since it is gorgeous and also seems to be sterile (a GW buddy mentioned this to me, as well as someone who trials plants at CO university). Anyone else grow and like it?
Thanks!
CMK

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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I will be reading this with interest since I've avoided all the blue Agastache varieties since they seem either to be not hardy or are self-seeders. I'd love to find some that will work here.

Scott from Rhone Street Gardens blog who sometimes posts here has several mentions of A. Blue Boa, so that is a resource you could check out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rhone Street Gardens

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 9:35PM
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gardenweed_z6a

While my A. foeniculum 'Golden Jubilee' does reseed, it hasn't over-populated my little green acre and so far produced fewer than a handful of seedlings. I grew it from seed originally via winter sowing. It has reliably returned each year since I originally planted it in 2009.

None of the A. rupestris cultivars have been hardy in my garden for more than two growing seasons. I'm borderline Z5b as of the most recent USDA zone divisions.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 9:55PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I've grown A. foeniculum 'Blue Fortune' for years in a garden where anything that can reseed does. I've never had a single seedling of that variety.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:35AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-laceyv, thanks so much for the info on BF. I planted one at work a couple years ago and it has done well. No seedlings so far either.
CMK

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:58PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I have had 'Honey Bee Blue' since I winter sowed it in 2006. It is not a spectacular Agastache, it is sort of nondescript and fades into the background. What I like about it, the bees like it, and when it produces seed and you rub your hands on it as you are collecting seed, it smells like root beer. LOVE that smell! It does reseed for me, but not in a way I have minded and it's easy to pull. It doesn't spread by roots. Actually, two seasons ago, it turned up under the canopy of my large Maple. That surprised me, because of the competition from roots, the dryness and more shade then I would have thought it needed. I left it there and waited for last season to see if it would come back and bloom there and sure enough it did. So for the time being, I'm watching to see how it does under the Maple and if it is a worthwhile addition there.

I tried Agastache 'Blue Adder' two seasons ago and it did nothing in my garden. It was very low vigor and I won't grow it again.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 3:48AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Just to clarify about Agastaches. A. foeniculum should be perfectly hardy through zone 5. Other agastaches are mostly western species and hybrids. They are iffy even in zone 6 and MUST have excellent drainage and should not be cut back until spring. Fall cutting back encourages water to enter the crown and spells death; they don't like wet winters. But they sure are gorgeous.

One hybrid, A. 'Blue Blazes' seems to be much more hardy than other cultivars I've tried. I've had it for several years--one of the parents is A. foeniculum, so that may help increase the hardiness. It's a real stunner too. No seedlings either.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 6:31AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

So, if you are using a plant that is sterile, it's not really a pollinator attractor, is that right?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:03AM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Agastaches are mainly nectar (rather than pollen) sources for pollinators. So if a flower is sterile and can't be pollinated, it will last longer than normal and continue pumping out nectar. My 'Blue Blazes' made the bumblebees very happy last summer!

I have now had 'Blue Blazes', A. rupestris and 'Blue Fortune' for two full seasons in my garden. Winter hardiness has not been an issue, but I have well-drained soil with a good amount of sand. I suspect that it is multiple freeze-thaw cycles rather than cold that defeats many hardy agastaches.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 2:53PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

My 'Blue Fortune' reseeds readily in my gardens. I was surprised to read that others don't find this to be the case. Not enought to be annoying, but almost!
'Blue Boa' is gorgeous and I do hope
It comes back for me next year. I never have any problems collecting seeds from the couple agastaches I have, but none with 'Blue Boa'. Bummer. I was hoping to start a bunch from seed. If the one I got last year lives I'll be picking up about half a dozen more this year, it really is outstanding and the flowers look almost like those of buddleia. Huge and vivid.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 11:07PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Re getting more 'Blue Boa'. It should be easy to root cuttings. I do it every year with Blue Blazes and give them away.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 6:16AM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Laceyvail, you bring up a good point, I get a lot out of my garden from seed and divisions, and while I've rooted some annuals, I never think to root perennials! Thanks for adding that info.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 2:13PM
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gardenprincethenetherlandsZ7/8(Z7/8)

The real Agastache 'Blue Fortune' is sterile so does not seed. If it does seed it is probably not 'Blue Fortune'. Agastache rugosa and foeniculum do seed around prolifically, sometimes annoyingly. On the whole these forms are short lived (maybe that's why they seed around so much). They also dislike wet winters.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 9:52AM
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gdjcb

Hello,

I would like to add Agastache to hopefully increase the number of humming Birds that visit my home. We have had one pair the past three years and would be great to have a few more. I would like to know what Agastache are perennial for Zone 5b or would self sow in my Zone. We get little or no snow cover, multiple freeze thaws, I do have good draining soil and hot summers. I do use cedar bark for mulch to help keep moisture during summer. I plan on growing from seed, so would also appreciate suggestions on were to purchase, I have looked at swallowtail and they seem to have a good selection.

Thanks you,
Gale

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 10:31PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Gale, hello fellow Washingtonian ;-) Here in Spokane, I have found the only Agastache that does well with our wet winters is Agastache foeniculum. My 'Golden Jubilee' does re-seed. Non-sterile varieties would too.

I'm guessing your in a fairly arid portion of the state? If so, you may have luck with the "western" Agastaches (rupestris, aurantiaca, & cana). They tend to die/are short lived over here because of the winter wet, but probably wouldn't be for you. They generally attract more hummers than the foeniculum type...
CMK

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 1:59PM
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gdjcb

CMK,
Thanks for the suggestions, yes I live outside Moses lake, and we get little rain and the wind that always follows it blows most of it away. Do the Western Agastaches also self sow? If they are short lived here also, it would be helpful.

Thanks,
Gale

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:44PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Gale, they do self sow a bit. I had the occasional one pop up back when I was giving them a try. In more ideal conditions you may find they seed a bit more...
CMK

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:27PM
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gdjcb

CMK,
Thanks again, I will have to give a couple of each a try.

Gale

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:48PM
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