About Anise Hyssop: Herbalists use this member of the mint family for culinary purposes, since the leaves make an excellent tea and the flowers are also edible. Native to the north central United States, anise hyssop is a traditional medicinal plant of the Native Americans; its leaves have antibacterial benefits that treat colds, coughs, or poor digestion. Because of the subtle anise flavor it gives honey, anise hyssop became popular with colonists for planting near bee hives.
Anise Hyssop Germination: To break its dormancy, this seed needs stratification, a period of cold moisture. Mix the seed with moist sand and store in the refrigerator for 30 days before planting. To accomplish this naturally, direct sow unstratified seed on the surface of the soil in the fall for germination in the spring. To start the seed indoors, sow the stratified seed on the surface of the soil in a flat; keep the soil temperature between 70-75 degrees F with consistent moisture until germination. After the last spring frost, transplant the seedlings 15-18” apart in full sun and sandy or rocky soil.
Growing Anise Hyssop Seeds: This plant can be very drought tolerant and loves hot weather, but reaches its full potential with regular watering. Hyssop will not tolerate soggy, wet soil. It easily reseeds itself, but unwanted volunteer plants can easily be moved or transplanted. Established plants can be divided. Anise Hyssop attracts bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and beneficial insects.
Harvesting Anise Hyssop: Fresh leaves can be individually harvested for tea, salads, or medicinal use throughout the growing season; in the morning after the dew has dried is the best time for harvesting. Take individual leaves first from the bottom of the stem and work up to the top. Do not remove more than 60% of the plant at any one time. To harvest entire stalks for drying, cut them 2-3” from the ground and hang them upside down to dry.
Saving Anise Hyssop Seeds: When the flower spikes begin to dry and turn brown, remove them and spread them out to dry; thresh them to remove the seed. Shaking the entire plant’s seed heads into a container is also effective, but the process should be repeated daily until all the seed has matured. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Anise Hyssop Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Licorice Mint, Blue Giant Hyssop Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 24-36 inches Spacing: 15-18 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 4a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 77,500 Produces oval, dark green leaves with serrated edges and 4-6” spikes of purple flowers.