agastache advice

LorrianeMarch 23, 2014

Last year I bought an Agastache labeled as Desert Sunset at a local nursery based on the fantastic smell and I love the plant!. I am discovering that there are many, many different kinds of Agastache varieties and was wondering if anyone had any advice for the best varieties for my very sandy, acidic and nutrient deficient soils in Zone 8b.

Thanks for any advice

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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Agastaches like cool, dry nights with good drainage. They tend to do better in zones 5 to 7.

No one explains what Agastache varieties like. The species and F1 hybrids are very promiscuous and do not generate much cutting material. This forces growers to use seeds, and F2 and higher hybrids are quite variable.

Knowing this, three of my introductions included agastache mexicana, the southernmost species of the genus. It is found at cloud forest levels in Vera Cruz on volcanoes like Pico de Vera Cruz. As such, it is better adapted to subtropical conditions. Hybrids using this species, like my releases Pink Lemonade, Tutti Frutti, and Pink Panther should be able to better withstand southeastern US hotter, humid nights.

I don't know how much the people who have released the new varieties have used this information with their new selections. There seems to be no way to determine which species are involved in breeding.

This post was edited by rich_dufresne on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 0:16

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:17PM
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kmickleson(z9 CA)

Thank you for that, rich. I'm retooling a large bed and just ordered 5 pricey Agastache Ava's from High Country Gardens to use as backdrop on a wing and a prayer that they'll persist in my SF Bay Area microclimate. I'd planted some Desert Sunset in the past, and if I recollect right, they didn't stick around. So my investment may have been a folly. Sigh.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:43PM
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rich_dufresne(z7 NC)

Well, I gave Betsy Clebsch one each of my Agastache F1 hybrids a long time ago, and after a few years, visited her and toured her garden. My jaws dropped, and I suggested that she get our mutual friend Ginny Hunt to collect seed and offer it, which she did.

I suspect her seed has been a major source of breeding stock for the current varieties, along with the newer forms that came out of the Denver BG and spread up and down the Front Range along the I-25 corridor..

Betsy's plants were so big, they could hide an NFL linebacker, and came in many colors ranging from yellow to rose. They loved it on Skyline Drive, so don't dispair

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 5:12PM
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Hi Rich:

Thanks so much for the information!. Of course as is usual for me, I do the research only AFTER I have bought something or taken some kind of action :-(. I purchased some agastache seed from Swallowtail Garden and winter sowed them at the beginning of our winter. I had great success with the winter sowing of the 4 varieties (Sangria, Fragrant, Indigo Spires and Sunset). About two weeks ago I potted up 10 of each type and they look so good.

I was going to donate several of them to my local community garden group but I think that I will not do that after all since they might not do very well in my area. I will just plant them all at my place and see what happens. Should have done my research first of course.

Can you tell me where I could buy seed or plants of the types you suggested? Thanks so much for your help !

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:27PM
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