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Hyssopus officinalis, Hyssop - Blue


Hyssop has very aromatic leaves and is commonly grown in the herb garden where it makes a good edging plant to a border. Hyssop can be grown as a dwarf hedge, it responds well to trimming in the spring.

The growing plant attracts cabbage white butterflies away from brassicas. Hyssop is a very good plant for attracting bees and butterflies to the garden. It is a good companion plant to grow with grapes, but it grows badly with radishes.

The plant was formerly used as a strewing herb and is also used in pot-pourri.

A tea made from the leaves is useful for controlling bacterial plant diseases.

Plants can be grown for ground cover when spaced about 45cm apart each way.

Hyssop has a long history of medicinal use and was so highly esteemed in the past that it was considered to be a virtual cure-all. Currently an undervalued herb, it is often used as a household remedy, particularly as an expectorant and stomach tonic.

Prefers a light, dry calcareous soil and a sunny position.

A very cold-hardy plant, when dormant it can tolerate temperatures down to about -25°c.

The plant needs to be trimmed regularly to keep it in shape, untrimmed plants will soon degenerate. Spring is the best time to trim the plants. It is probably best to replace the plants every few years. The flowers have a rich aromatic fragrance.

Sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Very easy, the seed germinates quickly. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Edible uses

Leaves and young shoot tips - raw or used as a flavouring in soups, salads etc. A strongly aromatic flavour, somewhat like a cross between sage and mint, it has fallen out of favour in recent years. It can be used fresh or dried.

Flowers - raw. Added to salads.

An essential oil from the plant is used as a food flavouring.


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