Agastache ‘Bolero’ (Anise Hyssop) 1 star
Agastache is a group of aromatic perennials that grow in dry, often hilly habitats in China, Japan, U.S. and Mexico. Insects are highly attracted to the flowers. Bolero is a garden hybrid developed from a species native to the southwestern United States. This selection features loose spikes of vivid, rose-purple flowers over a compact mound of fragrant bronze-green foliage that is deer and slug resistant.
Flower Description and Bloom Time
Rose-purple, trumpet-like flowers appeared on 6-inch spikes from July through August creating a soft color in the garden, according to one evaluator. The plants had a long bloom period—8 weeks—and had red-purple masses of flowers on 18-inch tall stems.
Foliage Interest — Color and Texture
Green-gray leaflets formed on strong stems in plants that received more sun. New foliage is bronze—scented like licorice, according to one evaluator.
Habit and Growth Rate Observations
One evaluator noted that the plants were 18 inches tall and 15 inches wide with an airy, relaxed habit. At another site, in full sun, some plants grew to 24 inches tall. One evaluator noted the plants had excellent first year growth and show.
Site Preference — Soil and Light
Evaluation sites included loamy clay soil with sharp drainage and part shade to average garden soil in full sun with minimal moisture. Because agastache tends to grow in dry habitats, it is possible that wet winter soils caused the trial plants to rot.
Successes and Possible Drawbacks
Although all of the plants died by the end of the trial, an evaluator noted that the plants put on a good show and that they perhaps should be treated as annuals. The winter of 2014-2015 was particularly bad and may have contributed. Grow plants in dry soils and do not overwater. Because of their licorice fragrance, agastache are deer resistant but attract a variety of butterflies, hummingbirds and other flower feeders.
Notes from Growers/Retailers
One evaluator noted that Bolero is a good cottage garden plant that interplants well with other sun-loving perennials. Consider treating Bolero as an annual and pair it with Rudbeckia hirta, prairie dropseed, shrub roses and Asclepias turberosa.
Parting “SHOT” — The overall evaluation results Poor. 1 star.
This plant was evaluated from 2013 to 2016 at five sites including the western suburbs, and near the Illinois/Wisconsin border with a total of 15 plants in the trial. Nearly all plants died the first year and none survived by the end of the trial.