Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a hardy perennial herb that grows about two feet tall. The aromatic leaves are dark green and pointed. Because hyssop is a sub-shrub you can use it as a border plant in gardens. Spread young hyssop plants 1-2 feet apart in a spot with full sun and good drainage. This herb prefers gravelly or rocky soil so don’t plant it where the soil tends to be moist or boggy.
Unlike most herbs, hyssop has attractive flowers. They come in pink, white, or blue on stalks that grow to about three feet tall. The flowers are attractive to butterflies and bees. One source says that honey gathered from hyssop nectar is especially tasty. During the growing season keep the spent flower stalks regularly trimmed to help the plant become bushy and to promote another growth of flower stalks. After the first hard frost in fall, clip back the herb to the woody parts of the stems. In most of Texas, hyssop should remain green through the winter. For centuries hyssop has been strongly associated with ritual and medical cleansing. In the Old Testament hyssop was used to sprinkle blood as part of the Jewish Passover. Hyssop was mentioned in the Bible for its cleansing effect in connection with plague, leprosy and chest ailments and symbolically in cleansing the soul. In Medieval and Renaissance times hyssop was primarily used for respiratory and digestive ailments. It was also used externally for treating bruises, sores, earaches, and rheumatism.
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but when it comes to hyssop, beautiful scent is in the nose of the sniffer. Everyone agrees that hyssop has a distinct smell but for some it’s wonderful and for others it’s not so good. Historically it has been used to provide a clean, fresh scent indoors as part of potpourri or strewing herbs. However some people say that hyssop reminds them of “eau de skunk,” not exactly an aroma you’d want around the house. Before buying it, breathe deeply of the scent to see where you stand on this issue.
- Tips For Growing Hyssop Plant In Your Garden
- Growing Hyssop as a Garden Plant
- How to Plant Hyssop Seed
- Harvesting & Pruning Hyssop Plants
- Get to Know Hyssop
- How to Plant Hyssop
- How to Grow Hyssop
- Troubleshooting Hyssop
- How to Harvest Hyssop
- Hyssop in the Kitchen
- Preserving and Storing Hyssop
- Propagating Hyssop
- Hyssop Varieties to Grow
- How to Grow Anise Hyssop, the Official Herb of 2019
- Edible Acres
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Hyssop, (Hyssopus officinalis), evergreen garden herb of the mint family (Lamiaceae), grown for its aromatic leaves and flowers. The plant has a sweet scent and a warm bitter taste and has long been used as a flavouring for foods and beverages and as a folk medicine. Hyssop is native to the area ranging from southern Europe eastward to Central Asia and has become naturalized in North America.
Hyssop is a small perennial plant about 0.5 metre (1.5 feet) high with slim woody quadrangular stems. The dotted narrow elliptical leaves are about 2 to 3 cm (0.8 to 1.2 inches) long and grow in pairs on the stem. Long leafy half-whorled spikes of little flowers—usually violet-blue, pink, red, or white—blossom in summer.
hyssopOverview of hyssop.Contunico © ZDF Enterprises GmbH, MainzSee all videos for this article
Hyssop has a long history of use in foods and remedies. A strong tea made of the leaves and sweetened with honey is a traditional remedy for nose, throat, and lung afflictions and is sometimes applied externally to bruises. In the Middle Ages, hyssop was a stewing herb. Its modern uses are for flavouring meats, fish, vegetables, salads, sweets, and such liqueurs as absinthe. Honey made from hyssop pollen is considered especially fine. The leaves contain oil of hyssop, a volatile oil used by perfumers.
Ezov, the hyssop of the Bible, was historically used in ritual cleansing of lepers but is not Hyssopus officinalis, which is alien to Palestine; it may have been a species of caper or savory.
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The unrelated hedge hyssop comprises herbs of the genus Gratiola, belonging to the Plantaginaceae family and native to marshy lands throughout Eurasia and North America. Gratiola officinalis, of Europe, has cylindrical stems and leaves twice the size of those of true hyssop. Its flowers are solitary and located in the axils of the leaves. The herb is almost odourless but has a nauseating bitter taste.
Key Bible Verse: Psalm 51:7,“Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance after he sins with Bathsheba. Within this prayer, David expresses his supreme confidence in the the faithfulness of God to forgive. However, when we come to Psalm 51:7, David mentions a plant called “hyssop.” It seems like an odd request to ask God to use a hyssop plant to wipe away David’s sin. So it raises a question worth asking, “What does the hyssop represent in the Bible?”
What Does the Hyssop Represent in the Bible? The Hyssop Was a Means of Transferring the Blood of the Sacrifice to the Sinner
In Psalm 51:7, David is expressing his confidence in God’s power to restore him. One definition of the word “purge” is: to rid someone of an unwanted feeling, memory, or condition, typically giving a sense of a physiological and emotional release. “Purge” is a verb, meaning it is an action that David is requesting God to actually do to him. The NIV translates Psalm 51:7 as, “Cleanse me with the hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Now what the heck is this “hyssop” all about Psalm 51:7? To really appreciate what David is saying, you have to understand the significance of the hyssop branch in Old Testament. In Exodus 12:22 the hyssop is used at the first Passover to spread the blood around the door frames. In Leviticus 14:4-7 the hyssop and the blood are used in the ceremonial cleansing of the leper. In Numbers 19:1 hyssop is used for cleansing someone who has touched a dead body.
Basically the hyssop branch is a means by which the blood of the sacrifice was transferred to the sinner.
What Does the Hyssop Represent in the Bible? The Hyssop Points to the Substitutionary Atoning Death of Jesus Christ
The hyssop branch, however, shows up in the New Testament as well, right at the crucifixion of Jesus. John 19:28-30 explains:
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
It’s crazy how much symbolism is going on here. Jesus is drinking the wine vinegar. Psalm 75:8 states, “For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.” Jesus prayed in Matthew 26:42 (NIV), “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Therefore it’s safe to conclude that the cup of sour wine Jesus drinks at the crucifixion is representing the cup of God’s wrath which we all deserve to drink because of our sins. The cup could be taken away from Jesus even if he didn’t drink it. But the cup of God’s wrath could not be taken away from us unless Jesus drank it on our behalf.
Notice, however, that this wine representing God’s wrath was transferred to Jesus on the hyssop branch. The hyssop plant and the wine vinegar are symbolizing the substitutionary death of Jesus on our behalf. Jesus died in our place. Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath that we were supposed to drink. And it was as if God ordained the hyssop branch to show up right at the crucifixion to remind everyone who was watching that all those symbolic rituals in the Old Testament were symbolizing this moment.
It’s like God was saying to everyone, “It wasn’t the blood of the lamb spread of your door frame with the hyssop that allowed the angel of death to pass over you when you were leaving Egypt. It wasn’t the blood of animals that Moses sprinkled on you with the hyssop that appeased my wrath. It was my Son’s blood. I did that. I lead you out of Egypt. I paid the price for your rebellion. Look at the hyssop and remember my son. Look at this Old Testament symbol and now look at the one it was symbolizing.”
What Does the Hyssop Represent in the Bible? The Hyssop Represents the Freedom and Forgiveness of the Gospel
David may have not fully understood what he was saying, but when he prayed in Psalm 51:7 that God would “purge me with the hyssop,” it was if he was praying that God would release him of the judicial, emotional, physical, and spiritual burden he was under because of his sin.
When we see what the hyssop is representing in the Bible, we can read Psalm 51:7 with the understanding, “Cleanse me with Jesus’ blood and I will be clean, wash me with his blood, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Tips For Growing Hyssop Plant In Your Garden
Hyssop (Hysoppus officinalis) is an attractive flowering herb commonly grown for its flavorful leaves. Growing a hyssop plant is easy and makes a lovely addition to the garden. The spikes of blue, pink, or red flowers are great for attracting important pollinators to the landscape as well.
Growing Hyssop as a Garden Plant
Although most hyssop plants are grown in herb gardens, they also have their place in flower gardens as border plants. Hyssop makes a great edging plant when grown in masses as well, but did you know that hyssop plants can also be grown in containers?
When you grow hyssop in containers, make sure the pot is large enough to accommodate the large root systems. Hyssop plants prefer to be grown in areas with full sun or partial shade. They need well-drained soil, a bit on the dry side, amended with organic matter.
How to Plant Hyssop Seed
The most common way to plant hyssop is by sowing seeds. Sow hyssop seeds indoors or directly in the garden about eight to 10 weeks before the last frost. Plant hyssop just beneath the soil’s surface or about a quarter inch (0.6 cm.) deep. Hyssop seeds usually take between 14 and 21 days to germinate and can be transplanted (if sown indoors) in the garden after the threat of frost has ended in spring. Space hyssop plants about 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm.) apart.
Once blooming has ceased and seed capsules have completely dried, they can be collected and stored for growing hyssop the next season. In some areas, however, hyssop plants will self-seed readily. In addition, the plants can be divided in fall.
Harvesting & Pruning Hyssop Plants
If growing hyssop for use in the kitchen, it is best used fresh. However, it can be dried or frozen and stored for later use. When harvesting a hyssop plant, cut it in the morning hours once any dew has dried. Hang the plants upside down in small bunches to dry in a dark, well-ventilated area. Alternatively, you can place the leaves in a plastic bag after removing them from the stems and place in the freezer until ready to use.
When you grow hyssop as a garden plant, trim back established hyssop plants heavily in early spring and again after flowering to prevent them from becoming too spindly. Cutting back the foliage also encourages bushier plants.
Growing hyssop as a garden plant is not only easy but can also attract wildlife like butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. In addition, hyssop leaves can be harvested for use in salads, soups and other dishes.
Hyssop herb is a pretty compact perennial with spikes of blue and violet flowers. It is just at home in the perennial garden as it is in the herb garden. Hyssop is a member of the mint family. It can be used much like mint but its minty flavor is stronger than most mints so it should be used sparingly. Add hyssop to salads, fruit dishes—especially cranberries, soups, and stews.
Get to Know Hyssop
- Botanical name and family: Hyssopus officinalis is a member of the Lamiaceae—mint family.
- Origin: Southern Europe, the Middle East and the region surrounding the Caspian Sea.
- Type of plant: Hyssop is a semi-evergreen perennial.
- Growing season: Summer
- Growing zones: Hyssop grows best in Zones 3 to 11.
- Hardiness: Hyssop is cold hardy to -35°; winter protection is not necessary.
- Plant form and size: Hyssop is a shrubby and sprawling evergreen plant that grows 18 to 24 inches tall and about 12 inches wide.
- Flowers: Hyssop has whorls of half-inch white, pink, purple to deep blue flowers (depending on variety); flowers grow on spikes similar to lavender.
- Bloom time: Hyssop blooms from mid-summer to late autumn.
- Leaves: Hyssop has narrow, pointed, dark green, glossy leaves with smooth margins. Leaves grow opposite one another on woody stems.
How to Plant Hyssop
- Best location: Hyssop grows best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade.
- Soil preparation: Plant hyssop in compost-rich, well-drained soil. Add aged compost or commercial organic planting mix to planting area ahead of planting. Hyssop grows best in a soil pH of 7.0 to 8.0—slightly alkaline.
- Seed starting indoors: Sow hyssop seed indoors in early spring just a week or so before the last frost. Start seed in flats under fluorescent lights. Germination takes about 14 days.
- Transplanting to the garden: Transplant hyssop outdoors in mid- to late spring after the last frost.
- Outdoor planting time: Hyssop can be grown from seed, division, or stem cuttings. Sow seed outdoors after the last spring frost. Seeds also can also be sown in autumn. Start plants from cuttings in late spring or early fall. Start plants from root divisions in early spring or late summer.
- Planting depth: Sow seeds ¼ inch deep. Cover seeds lightly.
- Spacing: Space hyssop plants 12 to 18 inches apart.
- How much to plant: Grow 2 hyssop plants for cooking; grow 10 to 20 plants for tea and preserving.
- Companion planting: Grow hyssop with lavender, rosemary, garlic chives, and catmint. Hyssop repels flea beetles and other pests; it lures cabbage moths so it can be used as a trap plant. Hyssop attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Plant hyssop near beehives; the collected nectar will flavor the honey. Hyssop is said to increase the yield of grapevines. Radishes are said to suffer if planted near hyssop.
How to Grow Hyssop
- Watering: Let the top inch of the soil dry between waterings. Do not overwater hyssop. Hyssop can tolerate drought. It will thrive with light, even watering.
- Feeding: Feed hyssop compost tea or dilute fish emulsion a couple of times during the growing season.
- Care: Remove faded hyssop flowers to prolong bloom time and encourage bushy growth. Renew plants by cutting them back by half or more in early spring or late fall; this will encourage more flowering the second year. Hyssop should be divided every three or four years or plantings will become sparse. Plants lose vigor after 5 years and should be replaced with plants started from cuttings or division.
- Container growing: Hyssop can be grown in a container 14 inches or more deep and wide.
- Winter growing: Small plants can be brought indoors for winter. Established outdoor plants do not need protection. Cut hyssop almost to the ground and put a few inches of mulch over the plant in cold winter regions.
- Pests: Scale and nematodes can occasionally bother hyssop. Scale can be picked off and crushed. Repel nematodes by planting marigolds nearby.
- Diseases: Hyssop is susceptible to root rot in soggy soil. Add plenty of aged compost to planting beds so that the soil is well-drained.
How to Harvest Hyssop
- When to harvest: Harvest hyssop leaves as needed before the plant flowers. Pick flowers when the blooms are three-quarters open. Gather flowers in the morning when the dew has dried.
- How to harvest: Snip off portions of the stalk when harvesting a small number of leaves for immediate use then strip the leaves from the stem. Cut whole branches for drying leaves or flowers.
Hyssop in the Kitchen
- Flavor and aroma: Use hyssop sparingly. Hyssop has a strong minty flavor that can become bitter if too much of it is used at one time. Mix hyssop with one of the sweeter mints, such as spearmint, or a more lemony mint-like lemon balm.
- Leaves: Toss small amounts of fresh or dried hyssop leaves into salads, soups, stews, casseroles, stuffing, poultry dishes, or roasted meat for a warm sage-mint flavor. Add hyssop to fruit salads especially dishes that include cranberries.
- Flowers: Hyssop flowers can be used as leaves.
- Teas: Hyssop tea relieves sore throats and coughs. Infusion from leaves and flowers will relieve indigestion
Preserving and Storing Hyssop
- Refrigeration: Fresh hyssop leaves can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. Wrap leaves in a damp paper towel and place them inside a perforated plastic bag.
- Drying: Hang whole branches upside down to air dry. Dry flowers and leaves on a screen in a well-ventilated shaded warm place for 2 to 5 days. Do not let leaves over dry; they will be less flavorful.
- Storing: Store dry hyssop leaves and flowers in an airtight container.
- Seed: Hyssop is easy to grow from seed; it readily self-sows.
- Cuttings: Plants can be started from 6-inch long stem cuttings; dip cuttings in rooting hormone and plant in organic potting soil.
- Division: Divide plant in spring or gall. Plant 4 to 6 inches long root divisions at the same depth they were growing.
Hyssop Varieties to Grow
- Varieties available from seed and plant growers include ‘Nectar Pink’ and ‘Nectar White’.
Also of interest:
How to Grow Basil
How to Grow Rosemary
How to Grow Sage
How to Grow Oregano
How to Grow Mint
How to Start a Herb Garden
Growing Herbs for Cooking
How to Grow Anise Hyssop, the Official Herb of 2019
I remember the day the barista at my local juice bar asked me if I wanted to add wheatgrass as a “health booster” to my smoothie. I looked back at her with a raised eyebrow. Why would anyone want to put grass in their strawberry smoothie? And how was that supposed to boost my health?
This was right before someone alerted me to the trend: wheatgrass was going to be everywhere. Next, it was chia seeds, and then spirulina, then acai berries – all of which we added to our overnight oats, our Greek yogurt cups, our salads and, of course, our smoothies.
It seems that every year, a new show-stopping herb, fruit, or vegetable is crowned the next best-kept secret in health. And once it’s discovered, we can’t get enough of it – yours truly included.
The International Herb Association recently named Anise Hyssop as the 2019 herb of the year, and we expect to see it cropping up everywhere, literally. So what makes Anise Hyssop the it-herb of 2019? I couldn’t help but wonder the same thing.
What is Anise Hyssop?
If you haven’t had the pleasure of encountering Anise Hyssop in person, it looks a little like a cross between a sprig of lavender and a lilac flower. The triangular green leaves at the base of the flower resemble those of mint or catnip, and the color of the blooms is a vivid purple, though Anise Hyssop can also crop up in shades of blue, white or pink.
This perennial plant often grows as a wildflower in Zones 3 to 8 from around June to September, withstanding both chilly and humid temperatures, making it a fairly foolproof gardening venture. Interestingly enough, it belongs to the mint family, though it smells and tastes incredibly similar to the popular cooking herb of the same name: Anise, or Aniseed.
Why grow Anise Hyssop?
Suffering from an illness, ailment, or just feeling a little blah? Chances are, Anise Hyssop can probably fix whatever issue is troubling you. Since the herb is found abundantly across North America, it’s no surprise that Native Americans put this easily accessible, cure-all flower to good use. Early Americans harnessed its medicinal powers and found that Anise Hyssop worked as a cough suppressant, fever reducer, and sore throat ameliorator – an ideal solution for common colds and flus. Since the plant has antibacterial qualities, it was also used in salves to treat wounds, burns and infections.
Still not convinced there’s nothing Anise Hyssop can’t do?
- Its aromatic digestive properties help to treat gas and bloating.
- Its antiviral properties can help with cold sores.
- Native Americans even believed the uplifting, sweet smell of the Anise Hyssop leaves helped treat depression.
How do I grow Anise Hyssop?
Anise Hyssop can be grown from seed, starting it out in rock wool and then transporting the seedlings as you would with any other Tower Garden-friendly green. The seeds typically germinate in 1–4 weeks and do best in cold, moist temperatures with plenty of sun. It grows in clumps and reaches about 2–4 feet in height, so we recommend steering clear of adding too many seeds per rock wool cube in order to not crowd the plants. (If you’d like a refresher on how to grow strong, healthy seedlings, we’ve got you covered in this previous post.)
Anise Hyssop fares best in direct sunlight, so outdoor placement is optimal. However, this herb will also thrive indoors with a long-running light schedule of approximately 16 hours.
Another advantages of planting Anise Hyssop is how effectively the unscented flowers attract bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators (outdoors, of course!) You may find that your other fruiting plants begin to produce more quickly and more often, thanks to the Anise Hyssop and the welcome visitors it brings.
How do I use Anise Hyssop?
Both the leaves and the flowers of Anise hyssop can be used fresh or dried. With a natural sweetness, the plant is very versatile for a variety of uses.
Here are a few of our favorite ideas for Anise Hyssop blooms:
- Use them in cooking by drying the flowers and sprinkling them over your favorite lettuce as a sweet and surprising topping in salads.
- Garnish your favorite desserts by topping ice cream, fruit, or frosted cakes with some fresh blooms for a treat that appeals to both the eye and taste buds.
- Dry the blooms and seep them in hot water to make a relaxing mug of tea with potent properties to boost health.
And several ways to utilize the Anise Hyssop leaves:
- Add fresh leaves to green smoothies, including these from our friends at Juice Plus+.
- Experiment with dried leaves in baking or use them to flavor jams and jellies. The natural sweetness makes a great sugar alternative!
- Add them wherever you use herbs in your everyday meal prep.
- Create a sweet-smelling sachet for your home (or for a gift), as the peppermint-y, licorice-y scent of Anise Hyssop leaves is delightful.
We’re curious: Had you heard of this herb before? Ever tried growing it? Let us know in the comments below.
This is Blue Hyssop, or Hyssop (not to be confused with Anise Hyssop, Agastache Foeniculum). This very hardy, adaptable, beautiful perennial has a lot going for it. Hyssop is quite drought tolerant, and loves full sun. It can handle very challenging growing conditions with grace. It’s intensely aromatic leaves and deep blue/purple flowers can be used like rosemary in cooking, or made into potent anti-viral and respiratory teas and medicines. As a member of the mint family it is super hardy, but unlike most mints, it doesn’t spread like crazy or show up all through the garden. As a boundary/protector plant of 1-2’ it is a wonderful ally.
Bees really enjoy the numerous flowers and long season, and we’re sure they benefit from the medicine it provides as well.
These types of heavily aromatic, rugged, flower loaded perennials are a great fit as support plants for young trees and shrubs of value, and can persist as an understory to support the beings that pollinate and defend your high value plantings.
Easy to divide or grow from saved seed, you can really ramp up your collection quickly if you wanted!
1‘ to 2’ or so
Can handle a wide set of sites, but is best adapted to drier, sunnier positions and can handle periodic drought (think rosemary or lavender context)
We provide you with a well established plant or a bundle with multiple plants (we almost always put in bonus plants!) depending on your preference.
Zones 4 to 9
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)
Home herb gardeners are growing hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) for its dark green leaves which are used to flavor salads, soups, liqueurs and stews. Attractive plants have woody stems, small pointed leaves and spikes of pink, red, white and blue-purple flowers. Blooms are very attractive to bees and butterflies. Hardy perennial grows 2-3 feet tall.
Native to southern Europe, Hyssop was used as early as the seventh century as a purifying tea and for medicine. The ancient herb is said to cure all manner of ailments from head lice to shortness of breath.
All heirloom herb seeds — not the sort you’ll find in box stores — offered by Planet Natural are non-treated, non-GMO and NOT purchased from Monsanto-owned Seminis. Planting instructions are included with each packet and shipping is FREE!
Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Harvesting Hyssop
- Medium-sized plant whose leaves are used for salads, liqueurs and soups
- Flowers are pink, red, white and purple
- Start seedlings indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost; be patient with germination
- Set seedlings outdoors after last frost
- Choose a site with full sun and dry soil that drains well
- Best used fresh
- Very few pests and diseases — considered an excellent companion plant
Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 75-85 days from seed
Height: 12 to 24 inches
Spacing: 12 to 24 inches apart
Hyssop prefers full sun to partial shade and dry, well-drained soil. Prior to planting, work in plenty of organic matter, such as compost or aged animal manure. It is also helpful to add a light application of organic fertilizer to the planting hole.
Hyssop will grow equally well in containers, rock gardens and window boxes. Read our article Herbs in Pots here.
How to Plant
Sow seeds indoors just beneath the surface of the soil 8-10 weeks before the last frost. Hyssop seeds will germinate in 14-21 days. Transplant out in the spring after the last frost. Set plants 12-24 inches apart.
In autumn, new plants can be created by root division. Pruning to the first set of leaves after flowering will create a more compact plant and better flowering in the following year (watch How to Grow an Herb Garden — video).
Harvesting and Storage
Harvest the youngest leaves and stems as needed. Cut in the morning after the dew has dried for optimal flavor. Do not wash the leaves or aromatic oils will be lost.
Hyssop is best used fresh but can also be stored frozen in plastic bags or dried. To dry, tie the cuttings in small bundles and hang upside down in a well-ventilated, dark room. When dry, remove the leaves from the stems and store whole. Crush or grind just before use (watch How to Dry Herbs — video).
Insect & Disease Problems
Hyssop does not have many pest problems. In fact, several articles suggest that the perennial herb repels flea beetles and cabbage moths when planted in vegetable gardens. Hyssop is often grown as a companion plant with cauliflower, cabbage and grapes.
Seed Saving Instructions
Seeds are ready to harvest when the seed capsules are completely dry and brown. The capsules can then be picked and the seeds easily separated by hand.
Scientific Name: Hyssopus officinalis
Hyssop is a bushy perennial flowering herb that grows to about half a metre tall. Hyssop is native to parts of Southern Europe and the Middle East.
Hyssop can be grown as a flowering ornamental in boarder gardens and rockeries. It produces blue flower spikes that are a nectar source for beneficial insect predators and pollinators. Hyssop is a well regarded bee plant, its leaves were even traditionally rubbed on new bee hives as its scent was thought to prevent bees from abandoning their hive and making a new nest elsewhere. Honey collected from bees that have been foraging on Hyssop flowers will have a strong and aromatic flavour. Hyssop makes a good companion plant for brassicas and lettuces as its scent repels slugs, cabbage moths and cabbage butterflies which like to feast on them. Hyssop is also a good companion plant for grape vines as it’s thought to stimulate their growth. Hyssop leaves can be used as a culinary herb but they have a strong, bitter minty flavour so should be used sparingly. A fews young leaves chopped finely can add flavour to salads, stews or soups. Hyssop leaves can be used to flavour liqueurs and are an ingredient in Chartreuse. Hyssop leaves are used in herbal medicine to relive coughs and sore throat. Dried hyssop leaves can be hung up in cupboards and used as an air freshener.
Hyssop will grow best in full sun but will also tolerate light shade. Hyssop needs a freely draining soil, growing it in a sandy loam is ideal. Grow Hyssop in raised garden beds if your soil is too compacted or heavy with clay. Dig through organic matter prior to sowing to improve soil health and structure. Hyssop is suitable for growing in containers but has long roots so choose a deep pot. Hyssop grows well in poor soils so don’t overfertilise it, apply a complete organic fertiliser as required only if nutrient deficiencies are apparent. Hyssop is drought tolerant once established, don’t overwater it or you may cause root rot. Mulch around Hyssop plants to suppress weeds and keep their root system cool. Hyssop prefers growing in a neutral soil with a pH range between 6.5 and 7.5. Hyssop grows well from cuttings or division of clumps. Prune bushes back by about a third after flowering to maintain a compact shape.
When To Sow
For best results sow Hyssop from October to February in cold and mountainous regions of Australia. In temperate regions of Australia sow Hyssop from September to January. In subtropical regions you can sow Hyssop from August to November or from March to April. The dampness of tropical regions may provide a challenge but you can grow Hyssop there as a short-lived perennial by sowing it during the dry season from April to July.
How To Sow
Sow Hyssop seeds 5mm deep spacing plantings about 25cm apart to give them room to grow.
Time To Germination
Germination of most Hyssop seeds will occur within 10 to 20 days.
Time To Flowering
Hyssop will flower quickly, taking between 11 and 13 weeks when grown in ideal conditions.