Blue Boa AgastacheAgastache rugosa ‘Blue Boa' (PP# 24,050)
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The Blue Boa Agastache is a sturdy perennial plant that grows each season to 2 or 3 feet tall, with many spikes of colorful flowers topping leafy stems. Each flower cluster is 6 inches long and fat with many flowers that are a beautiful purple-blue color. The dark-green foliage smells of licorice and is edible, and the flowers attract bees and hummingbirds. This sun-lover is perfect in the front of your beds to follow spring blooming shrubs, or in xeric gardens and rocky places.
Full sun gives the best results with the Blue Boa Agastache, and it should be planted in well-drained soil, which could be rough ground with sand and gravel. Avoid wet clay, although this plant has better resistance to winter damp than other Agastache. Pests or diseases are rare and deer leave it alone. The only care needed is to cut it to the ground each fall – it will be back stronger than ever in spring.
Spring is a lovely season, with many flowering trees and shrubs. When summer comes we want to be out in the garden, enjoying it, and it should be a time of flowers and color. The truth is, though, that summer shrubs are limited, and to make your garden sing the song of summer you need to look beyond woody plants. For months of trouble-free, vibrant color in hot, dry parts of your garden you can’t go wrong with Agastache, or Hummingbird Mint, to choose one of it’s many other names. For the longest bloom period and for a beautiful purple-blue color that looks perfect on the sunniest day, you can do no better than plant the Blue Boa Agastache. Blooming from June to September – yes, really – this upright plant has lovely dark green foliage too, and it is so easy to grow. Plant it in a hot, sunny place and it is in heaven. The bold cylinder of purple-blue flowers look great and attract bees and hummingbirds. This trouble-free plant comes back again each year, stronger and better than before, without being invasive or becoming a problem.
The Blue Boa Agastache is an herbaceous perennial plant that dies back to the ground in fall and resprouts in spring. It sends up many stems to a little more than 2 feet and then adds another foot when it flowers, to a total height of around 3 feet. The strong stems stand upright without any support from sticks or string, so it’s no trouble to grow. The leaves are in pairs along the stems, each a little more than 2 inches long, broad ovals with toothed edges, adeep, dark green color and a wonderful licorice-minty smell, especially when crushed. A new plant might have 8 or 10 spikes, but older plants spread out to about 2 feet across, and produce many flowering stems. By June the stems begin to elongate above the leaves and develop a fat head of many flowers.
These flower clusters are over 6 inches long and 1½ inches wide – bigger than in just about any other Agastache. As many as 600 flowers pack each spike, and there are two parts to the flower. A permanent part is a cup of dark purple, which together give the spike its fat structure. Then, over weeks and weeks, individual flowers push out. These are about ¾ of an inch long, shaped like irregular narrow bells, with prominent stamens protruding further, giving a fluffy look. The flowers are violet-blue, and together with their bases the whole spike has a rich and dark purple-blue color. It will be well into September before the last flowers are over and the spikes start to look less attractive. Bees and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers – your family will love to watch their antics.
This easy plant loves the sun, so use it to front sunny borders of spring-blooming shrubs, or taller evergreens. Mix it with other sun-loving flowers, or mass-plant it over larger areas – either way it’s a hit. Space plants 18 inches apart – they will soon spread out to create a continuous carpet. Grow it in a xeric, low-water garden, or among rocks and boulders on a slope. Plant it along a path or around a patio – you will love it everywhere you plant it.
This plant loves heat, but it is cold-resistant too, and thrives in zone 5 as well as in much hotter places at least into zone 9.
Plant the Blue Boa Agastache in full sun for the best results. More than an hour or two of shade each day will weaken it and make it floppy, with weaker flower colors. It grows easily in any soil, favoring drier, sandy or gravel soils that drain quickly. Don’t plant in wet, low-lying areas, especially in cooler zones.
The Blue Boa Agastache is usually free of problems like pests or diseases, and deer usually won’t eat it. It has strong stems and normally doesn’t need staking or support to stay upright. When a flower spike stops pushing out flowers, cut it back to the first pair of full-sized leaves. Secondary spikes will often develop. In fall, once the leaves yellow a little, cut them back at ground level, leaving any short leafy clusters that may have come. That’s it – nothing else is needed to grow this great plant.
Agastache is a group of plants related to mint, with about 20 species in North America, but the parent of the Blue Boa Agastache is an Asian species, called Agastache rugosa, or Korean Mint. It grows all the way from India through China and Japan into Korea. It is edible, and widely eaten in Korea. In China it is a medicinal herb. Terra Nova Nurseries, in Canby Oregon is a plant tissue-culture startup founded in 1992 in a tiny greenhouse. Today it is a major player in plant production under lab conditions as well as a plant breeding operation. Harini Korlipara, who is highly trained in breeding and tissue culture in India, is their Head Breeder and Lab Manager. Working with Agastache rugosa, and possibly other species as well, she produced seedlings, from which she selected one and named it ‘Blue Boa’. This plant was patented in 2013. It has much fatter spikes with better flower color, and it is a more vigorous plant than the parent species.
When first released the Blue Boa Agastache was given the Too Good to Wait Performer award at the 2013 Colorado State Perennial Trials and then won the Top Performer award in the same trials in 2014. It was also the favorite plant, noted for its long bloom season, at the 2012 perennial trials at Ohio State University. You will love this robust and easy-to-grow plant, but order now because we know it will sell out very fast.