At the mention of mint, most gardeners say, “Grow it in a pot!” because it’s notorious for taking over a garden. But many vigorous plants that are related and have square stems, such as monarda, have lovely flowers that we enjoy despite their being members of the mint family.
One particular relative, Agastache, is a genus where the plants are commonly called anise hyssops. In the past, many of its members were called giant or hummingbird hyssops, as they grew so tall and hummingbirds liked them. For example, Anise barberi is a bushy two-foot tall plant with one-foot long spikes of red-purple flowers borne from mid-summer to fall in zones 6 to10. It is aromatic so deer avoid it, and the hummingbirds love the flowers.
Recently many new varieties of hyssop have been featured in catalogs. The number of flower colors has increased, and some of the new plants are quite compact. For example, ‘Rosie Posie’ not only has a cute name but is also only 22-inches tall with a spherical habit and pink/violet flowers and a long bloom season that attracts pollinators of all kinds.
The Agastache Kudos™ series plants are all compact with a wide range of bloom colors. ‘Ambrosia’ has many different shades of pastel blooms; ‘Mandarin’ has pinkish-orange blooms, as does ‘Gold and Coral’. They are all disease and pest resistant and like sun. So no powdery mildew or Bambi—just masses of flowers.