Hummingbird Mint | Agastache Plants – Care | Varieties & How to Grow Hummingbird Mint?

Birders are always in search of perennials that help them in making their garden bird-friendly so that they can attract and welcome the birds to their backyard and cherish bird watching. 

Intro Video - Backtobirds x
Intro Video - Backtobirds

Hummingbird mint is one of the perennials that fit in many such expectations of birders. 

When I planted hummingbird mint in my garden and saw them blooming, I loved the gorgeous hues they brought to the site as well as hummingbirds that everyone adores.

While considering hummingbird mint for planting, it is extremely important to know about the basic requirements of the plant and the care it needs. With the help of my extensive gardening experience, Below I have compiled all the information about hummingbird mint.  

What is hummingbird mint (or) Agastache Plants?

Hummingbird Mint, also known as Agastache plants and Hyssop, are long-blooming, and fragrant perennials. 

A member of the mint family, hummingbird mint are semi-woody plants with profuse branching and ovate leaves.

They bear mauve, pink, lavender, white, peach, and even orange flowers with spikes that bloom most of the growing season, making them attractive to hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. 

The scent of the flowers is also a reason why butterflies and bees get drawn towards them. 

The plant is extremely effective in attracting hummingbirds because the birds feast on the sweet nectar of the plant. They get drawn to the tubular-shaped blossoms of red and purple colors. 

Hummingbird mint is generally found in Texas, New Mexico, and the southwest of North America, in the mountainous regions. They are low-maintenance plants that are good for pollinator-friendly gardens.  

Maximum of the species of this plant grow perfectly well between the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 to 8. The average height of the plants is 12 to 18 inches. 

How to grow hummingbird mint?

To grow hummingbird mint, you need to consider the basic requirements of the plant. They involve:

1. Light:

Hummingbird mint grows best in sunny, hot planting sites. They may survive in shady sites as well but may not bloom. It’s necessary for them to at least be in the sun for a few hours.   

2. Soil:

To grow hummingbird mint, the soil should be well-drained and fertile. The pH of the soil may vary from neutral to slightly acidic. The plants are even tolerant of poor soils but it’s better to avoid using water-retentive soils like clay for the plant. 

3.  Watering:

The plant requires frequent and deep watering. The soil should remain moist until the plant is completely established. Once the plant is mature, it can survive without water for days. Once in a week watering is good for mature plants. 

4. Spacing:

Hummingbird mint can be seeded indoors a few weeks before the ending front date. The plants should be moved out when the transplants become at least 4 inches tall. This is the time when they need the outdoors to grow and bloom. 

The minimum space between the plants should be 12 to 15 inches. The plants can also be seeded directly outdoors in rows at a one-foot distance.

5.  Time of planting:

Planting at the end of the spring season is considered idle when the danger of frost does not exist. You can plant the hummingbird mint anytime until the onset of summer. 

6. Fertilizing:

It’s good to amend the soil with compost before planting the seeds. The plants can grow well without any additional fertilizers. The excessive use of fertilizers can result in the loss of essential oil in the flowers and leaves, floppy stems, and less flowering. 

Hummingbird mint care 

Hummingbird mint does not require much care as compared to other decorative plants. 

However, to grow and keep them lushly throughout the season, you can install some basic practices. They generally include:

Staking

Hummingbird mint is strong-stemmed and thus, doesn’t need staking or any kind of support. But you can stake them after the flower stalks grow if you want straighter stems for cutting. 

By not keeping much space between the plants, you can allow them to be supportive of each other and not spread over easily when a summer storm hits them. 

Mulching

Plants inappropriate conditions do not require mulching. However, if the conditions are extremely dry for them, you can help them by providing 1 to 2 inches thick mulch of crushed stone or pine needles. This will keep the young plants healthy and away from weeds

Pruning & Trimming

Pruning helps in improving the appearance of the plant as it keeps on changing throughout the season. Trim back the hummingbird mint to promote bushier growth. Snip off the spent flower stalks to make the plants look clean and tidy as well as bloom further. 

If you are growing the plants as perennial, avoid pruning at the end of summer as it may stimulate the further growth of plants in fall that may not survive the cold. But if you want the plants annual, keep pruning as needed. 

Transplanting and Dividing 

Hummingbird mint grows as an annual plant in cooler plants where they do not need dividing. But in warmer climates, the plants grow perennial and hence, they will lose their vigor and dieback in winters. 

Dividing is necessary every three to five years for perennials when they start degrading and lose their vitality, which can be seen in the form of less growth and blooming. 

Dig with the help of a sharp shovel and then take the root ball out gently. Divide it evenly and then transplant it into a nearby planting site. Spread mulch between and over the transplants to protect the plant and keep them moist. 

Pests and Disease  

Generally, the hummingbird mint is a plant that does not have a danger of pests. But sometimes may also get attacked by spider mites, causing the plant leaves to turn yellow. To prevent it, you should wash off the leaves at regular periods. 

Another thing that might cause bacteria and fungal growth is the wet soils that the plant needs to grow well. This can result in the rotting of the plant. You can prevent this by using sandy loam soils, building raised beds, and using the appropriate soil for good growth. 

Best Varieties of Hummingbird Mint

There are several varieties of hummingbird mint that are planted for various purposes. Many of the hybrids come with outdoor growing conditions. Whereas, some of them top the other in terms of appearance, fragrance, maintenance, and growth. 

Here are some of the best varieties of hummingbird mint:

1. Pink hummingbird mint:

Botanically named Agastache Morello, pink hummingbird mint grows with raspberry-pink blossoms. The plant has dark green, aromatic foliage that works perfectly well in attracting pollinators. The plant grows 3 feet tall and forms an excessive number of crowns. 

2. Tango hummingbird mint:

A great perennial for beds, containers, and rock gardens, tango hummingbird mint has orange flowers with a shade of blue that fragrant the garden. The average height of the plants is 12 to 18 inches. They are exceptionally free-flowering and compact growing plants.

3. Rainbow hummingbird mint:

One of the best choices for perennial borders and mixed beds, rainbow hummingbird mint even grows well on the deck or patio. These plants keep your garden colorful for months. The plants are drought tolerant and can even thrive in inappropriate conditions.

4. Dwarf hummingbird mint:

Botanically called Agastache ‘Kudos Ambrosia’, dwarf hummingbird mint are only about 1.5 to 2 feet tall. These plants may have lesser height than other varieties of hummingbird mint but they have a long bloom season, bearing attractive flowers that even change their hues when they get mature.  

Does hummingbird mint spread? Is hummingbird mint invasive?

Hummingbird mint is not an invasive plant species. However, they have the ability to self-seed and hence, can spread a little. But you can control them easily by removing spent flowers at regular intervals. 

You can consider these plants as a good choice for your garden without worrying about them spreading to a point where they disrupt your other plants. 

Can you eat hummingbird mint? | Is hummingbird mint edible!

The leaves and flowers of hummingbird mint are edible and can even be included in various appetizers for garnishing. They are even used in tea for their flavor and aroma. 

Even the other parts of the hummingbird plant are consumer-friendly and used for various purposes. Some of the varieties of hummingbird mint that are highly used are Agastache foeniculum, Agastache cana, Agastache rugosa, and Agastache urticifolia. 

Is hummingbird mint toxic?

Hummingbird mint is a non-toxic plant that can be planted in gardens, pots, or beds. You do not need to worry about your pets such as dogs or cats eating them while playing around. 

Conclusion

Hummingbird mint is an elegant plant that can easily be planted and taken care of. These low-maintenance bloomers come in several varieties, offering you a diverse range to choose from. The plants are idle for attracting hummingbirds to your site.