Growing Anise Hyssop

This page talks about growing anise hyssop and its benefits.

Anise hyssop, also called lavender hyssop or licorice mint, is a perennial from the mint family that is native to Northern America.  Native Americans once used it to treat wounds, diarrhea, cough and fevers.  Anise hyssop makes a beautiful addition to flower beds and herb gardens.  Its fragrant purple flowers attract bees and butterflies. 

Anise hyssop grows to a height of 24 to 36 inches.  It is recommended that you plant you anise hyssop in pots and later transplant it to its permanent location, however, it is possible to direct sow as well.  It blooms in 75 to 80 days from planting.  Anise hyssop blooms from early summer through fall.  It easily self-seeds and sends out shoots from its roots.

Begin planting after the last frost.  To plant for later transplanting, press seeds into potting soil, or barely cover.  The seeds need light to germinate.  Anise hyssop should germinate in 7 to 16 days.  To get an early start, you can plant indoors up to four weeks before the last frost.  They can be transplanted to their permanent home at any time after sprouting, but it’s best to wait until they are at least 3 to 4 inches tall. 

When ready to transplant, choose a sunny part of your garden.  Anise hyssop does well in a variety of soil types, but prefers sandy, moist, well-drained soil.  You can mix some builder’s sand into the soil.  Place seedlings 6 to 12 inches apart in garden, in rows that are 24 to 36 inches apart.

You can begin harvesting anise hyssop once it begins to bloom, which usually occurs in early summer, or within 80 days of planting.  Be careful not to over-harvest as the plant does need its leaves to thrive.  To create a bushier plant, cut about one third of the plant back after it blooms.  Anise hyssop is great in recipes as a fresh herb, but you can also dry it for use it during the off-season or as potpourri.    

More on Growing Anise Hyssop

Anise hyssop is used in all kinds of recipes for tea, salad, cookies and other desserts as well as breads, soups, pasta, sauces for meat and candied sprinkles. 

The next time you make lamb or veal, try drizzling it with this delicious sweet-sour  sauce:

3 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

½ cup water

½ cup hyssop leaves and flowers, chopped

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

Mix sugar, apple cider vinegar and ½ cup of water in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add hyssop.  Bring mixture up to a boil then remove from heat.  Allow to sit 30 minutes for flavors to be extracted from the leaves.  Then, filter out leaves and flowers.  Press hyssop to remove all liquid.  Discard hyssop. 

Whisk cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water together.  Combine the two mixtures and whisk while bringing it to a boil.  The sauce should thicken.  Pour over lamb or veal.  Enjoy!

           Go to Herbs from Growing Anise Hyssop

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