Nettle, Agastache

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The fragrance nettle (Agastache) with its pretty flower candles, the refreshing fragrance and a very long flowering time among hobby gardeners has been finding more and more fans for several years now. The flowering florets belonging to the family Lamiaceae (Lamiaceae) also attracts many insects and you can even harvest and eat the flowers and leaves of various species. Something confusing is the naming of the species and varieties of this perennial genus. For example, some are referred to as scented nettle or mountain mint, others - similar to some blue flower candles - as blue stools and some misleadingly as hyssop, although they are only distantly related to the genus hyssopus.

Appearance and growth

The growth form of Agastachen strongly depends on which group the respective kind belongs. Smells can be subdivided into two groups. The four species that come from China, Korea and North America and their varieties, which belong to the first group of perennials, are not only significantly higher than the species of the second group, they also grow very bushy. Their upright stems, which are covered over and over with fragrant, broad leaves, form dense clumps. These species can reach heights of growth of up to 2.50 meters. The heat-loving species that make up the second group remain much lower and are characterized by a rather loosely branched growth. None of them gets higher than a meter, some barely reach the 30-centimeter mark.

Agastache rugosa

Agastache aurantiaca 'Apricot Sprite'

The species of the two Agastache groups differ significantly in growth and flowering, here Agastache rugosa (left) and Agastache aurantiaca 'Apricot Sprite' (right)

But not only the growth, the leaves and the flowering are different. While the flowers of the four horticultural shrubs are in dense shamrocks and are usually colored white or blue - with the exception of Agastache nepetoides with yellowish-green flowers - the species of the second group present a colorful pile, depending on the species and variety pink, red or also orange can fail. In contrast to the rather compact ears of the first group, they are not only larger, but arranged in groups or whorls and the individual flowers are rather loose. However, both groups have their heyday, which varies from end of June to September depending on the species and variety. The leaf form of the second group is rather lineal in comparison to the broad, egg-shaped foliage of the first group. Depending on the species and variety, the leaf margin may be serrated to smooth-edged. Characteristic of all types of nettle are also the quadrangular stems and the conspicuous anise or fennel that the leaves emit in a grated state.

Location and ground

As a general rule, scented nettles are more winter hardy the drier they are. With waterlogging and wet winters, the perennials can not cope. A planting place is optimal in full sun with a nutrient-rich, permeable soil. Agastache rugosa and their hybrids are the only ones that tolerate slightly damper and heavier soils, with all others you should make them more permeable to sand.

white-greenish Agastachen

Also white-greenish blooming species and varieties are represented among the Agastachen


Agastachen in the pot can be planted from spring to autumn. If the soil in your garden is not very nutritious, you should improve it with some well-seasoned compost before planting.

care Tips

On a sunny spot with dry, well-drained soil, agastates sow in abundance. This is good because the perennials are often not very durable. If the sowing becomes annoying, you can cut back the candles before the seeds are ready - but then you do not have to do without the beautiful winter silhouette, with which particularly high varieties bring structure into the perennial flowerbed even in the cold season.

Long-lived nettle species and their hybrids can be split in the spring and thus simultaneously increased and rejuvenated. Also in the spring, the perennials are supplied with a dose of compost or other organic fertilizer to help them re-launch and start the new season.


In summer, nettles are, among other things, in addition to Indian armchair (Monarda), sun hat (Rudbeckia), thistle (Echinops), phlox or Witwenblume Blickfänge in Perennial. The striking spikes of the species used as garden shrubs predestined them for a combination with perennials with other flower forms. For example, the compact spikes are best used in combination with species such as Goldenrod (Solidago) or Gertrude (Gaura), which have rather loose inflorescences. Also typical autumn grasses such as the millet (Panicum virgatum) are great bedding partners.The deep blue-purple of some fragrance nettle varieties, such as the Agastache Rugosa hybrids 'Black Adder' or 'Blue Fortune', forms a particularly beautiful contrast to yellow flowering perennials.

Ball dahlia 'Jowey Winnie' and purple nettle

Here, the orange ball dahlia 'Jowey Winnie' makes a great contrast to the blue-violet blooming fragrance nettle

Some types of fragrance nettle can also be used in the kitchen. The aroma of the originating from Southeast Asia fragrance nettle (Agastache rugosa) reminiscent of mint and anise. In Korea you spice pancakes and stews with it. In addition, from the Koreaminze, as the perennial is called, can prepare wonderful tea. The North American anis-ysop has an intense aniseed fennel flavor, which is also why it owes its name. In the kitchen, it can be used anywhere where you would also use the herbs, for example in fish stew or salad. The Mexico-based Agastache mexicana, with its citrus flavor, is especially suitable for refreshing drinks.

Important species and varieties

As already mentioned, belong to the genus of the fragrance nettle about 22 perennials, which can be divided into two very different groups. On the one hand, there are the species of the Agastache rugosa, often referred to as the blue nettle, from China, Korea, and North America, the aniseed hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), Agastache nepetoides, and the false nettle (Agastache urticifolia), which are all classic Garden perennials are used. There are many varieties available from them, such as the popular Agastache Rugosa hybrids 'Black Adder' or 'Blue Fortune'.
The second group includes those from warmer climes such as the Limonen hyssop (Agastache mexicana) or Agastache aurantiaca. They grow naturally in open, dry and rocky places in Mexico and California and are mainly used as one-year-olds because of their sensitivity to frost.
We owe it to the great love of crossbreeding of the fragrance nettle species that their assortment is becoming more and more extensive and there are now varieties such as 'Sangria' from Agastache mexicana, which are more frost-resistant than the wild species.

Agastache mexicana 'Sangria'

Agastache mexicana 'Sangria' is a bit frost-sensitive, but has a good chance of surviving the winter outdoors in the mild winegrowing climate


The more long-lived species of the fragrance nettle can multiply in the spring by division. Another possibility of propagation is via semi-mature cuttings, which are cut in late summer after flowering. These must be overwintered after the first frost-free cultivation. Aroma nettles also form - as mentioned above - plenty of seeds that can be used for sowing. This propagation method works only for the species. The cultivated forms are not true to species and must therefore be propagated by division or cuttings.

Diseases and pests

Overall, nettles are considered robust and little susceptible to disease. Only in persistent wet weather mildew sometimes occurs and nudibranchs can be a problem.

Video Board: Meeting Nettle Leaf HorseMint in the wild!.

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