Agastakh "Arizona" - an original novelty among annual flowers
This interesting plant has many names, as well as a huge number of varieties. Most florists and gardeners are well known for anise lofant. It is also called Mexican mint and is grown as a spicy aromatic and medicinal plant. In landscape design and folk medicine, agastakh is often called a multi-spike. In the West, the plant is attributed to hyssop and is called the favorite of hummingbirds. Recently, I had the opportunity to grow a new hybrid series of agastache - Arizona. I will share my impressions in this article.
Features agastakh "Arizona"
There are a number of varieties lofanta (Agastache)living in a temperate climate, and more heat-loving species that will not survive even the relatively mild winters of North America. Interspecific hybrid agastakha "Arizona" derived on the basis of the most frost-resistant lofants of the region.
In the South, this plant is an unpretentious perennial. But in the middle lane agastakha "Arizona" can be grown only as an annual plant, because it does not tolerate frosts below -20 ... -23 ° C. Thus, it can be recommended only as an unusual bright annual, because when grown from seeds it reaches the maximum peak of decorativeness in the first year.
Agastakh from the Arizona series is a novelty of 2016 in the market of decorative floriculture and is currently represented by three colors:
- ‘Arizona Sandstone’ with saturated orange flowers;
- ‘Arizona Sun’ with inflorescences of bright yellow color;
- ‘Arizona Sunset’having delicate lilac flowers.
The inflorescences of this lofant are long and slender and look great both in the garden and in container compositions - on terraces or balconies. The height of the bushes in the flowering state does not exceed 30 centimeters. The leaves of the plant are medium-sized grayish-green. They contain essential oils that are easily activated with a simple touch, filling the air with the smell of mint, anise and lemon.
The leaves of the Arizona agastakha can be used for making teas, flavoring fresh salads, as well as baking and various desserts. The use of lofant in cooking gives not only flavor, but also anise flavor to dishes. The same applies to plant flowers, which are also edible.
Growing seedlings agastahe "Arizona"
Last summer, on my balcony, I grew several bushes of Arizona agastakha in two colors: orange (‘Arizona Sandstone’) and lilac (‘Arizona Sunset’). Seeds for seedlings were sown in mid-March, slightly buried in a substrate with a toothpick. The emergence of seedlings took about a week. Orange seedlings sprouted very abundantly, but sprouts of a lilac variety were single.
Landings developed rapidly and demanded a lot of light. Those specimens that were farther from the glass, noticeably stretched out, lay down and outwardly looked like creeping or ampelous plants. It was not necessary to pinch the seedlings, since independent tillering of plants began almost simultaneously with the formation of true leaves. Literally from each sinus of the leaf a new shoot appeared.
The only serious problem I encountered while growing the Arizona agastakha seedlings was a spider mite attack. Unfortunately, the specific smell of lofant foliage did not push him away.
I landed the agastakha in the balcony drawers in mid-May, when the plants had already gained buds. Perennial species of lofant, as a rule, are rather tall plants, but the bushes of the Arizona agastakha turned out to be very compact and neat. Their maximum height did not exceed 25 centimeters (and those that died a little, and even lower).
How blooms agastakha "Arizona"
Flowering of young plants began in early June. Agastache inflorescence is an ear with many simultaneously opened tubular flowers. A single flower consists of 5 petals, which are closer to the receptacle fused into a long tube. At its end, the petals are separated, and the stamens and pestle protrude slightly from them.
Аг Arizona Sandstone ’orange agastache had a very beautiful deep warm orange color with a touch of red brick. Lilac agastache ‘Arizona Sunset’ turned out to be two-color. In the form of buds, her flowers were orange and had a color completely identical to the orange-flowering variety, but when they opened, their color changed to pale lavender.
Plants bloomed very plentifully for two months, individual faded flowers inside one inflorescence did not spoil the appearance and did not require removal. In mid-August, flowering began to fade, and it took to completely cut off the faded spikelets. The bushes bloomed again in a couple of weeks, but already much poorer. The general flowering period lasted until the end of September.
Agastakh "Arizona" in the design of container compositions
The flowering bushes of the Arizona agastakha looked incredibly original and made the necessary variety in the composition of traditional colorful annuals, which were already a bit boring. Due to the fact that the plant has upright inflorescences, candles, in flower beds and container compositions agastache plays the role of a vertical accent.
In order to keep the small bushes from being lost among other flowers, their low-growing summers should be their partners - for example, ampelous petunias, evergreen begonia, alissum, pygmy snapdragon (“Twinnie”), caliberhoa and so on. Agastakha looks equally impressive in monopods in groups, while together can be planted as specimens of the same color, or two or three colors of this series. All colors of agastakha "Arizona" are very harmoniously combined with each other.
The annual lofant is very attractive as a living bunch; for this, several specimens of one or several stains are planted tightly in a small pot-flowerpot.
If at a young age you plant an agastache bush with slightly elongated stems near the very edge of the container, then it will make a very original ampel. Of course, while the stems of the lofant will tend to maintain a vertical direction, nevertheless, thin delicate stems will slightly hang over the edge of the cache-pot.
In the garden, the Arizona lofant will also look good if you plant it with curtains in the foreground of a flower garden or along paths. Sometimes it is also planted in rock gardens or a natural type mixborder.
Plant Care Rules
Agastakha can be attributed to low-maintenance annuals, which do not require anything but watering in the dry period. But, in general, the plant is able to tolerate short-term drought. If desired, you can please the flowers with periodic dressing.
In my case, the lofant received fertilizers that were intended for the neighboring petunias, and felt very good. By the way, in another tank, where top dressing was less plentiful, agastakha blossomed no worse.
The agastakha should be planted in full sun, although the Lofant also liked it on my balcony facing east (where the sun was by no means all day). This plant does not have specific preferences regarding the type of soil, but grows best on alkaline and tolerates slight salinization. In my experience, a traditional peat-based ready-made soil for flowers is quite suitable for him.
Some cons of Arizona "Arizona"
Although, in general, this floral novelty came to my taste, agastakh has a couple of shortcomings that I do not want to ignore. First of all - the aroma of foliage. Personally, he seemed intrusive and not too pleasant. I will not deny that the smell of "Mexican mint" is really a bit like real mint. But this is a completely different smell with specific notes - “for everybody.”
Perhaps some people like to smell the fragrance of the lofant foliage, but neither I, nor any of my relatives and guests rated this smell as pleasant. Fortunately, the leaves of the agastakha begin to smell only when they touch it, and have absolutely no smell if the plant is simply admired from afar. Therefore, I would recommend stirring the composition with the lofant away from those places where you can accidentally touch it or deliberately touch it.
And the second minus is the flowering period. Nevertheless, unlike marigolds, petunias, snapdragons, which bloom almost continuously throughout the summer, the period of maximum decorativeness of the Arizona agastakha lasts no more than two months. To extend the time of admiring the blooming agastakha, it is better to sow the seeds of the plant in two doses with an interval of about a month. Then one batch of plants will replace another.
Western flower growers also note the tendency of this lofant to the disease of leaf spot. In one of my containers with agastache, a similar disease was really observed, nevertheless, it was in insignificant quantity and did not significantly worsen the condition and appearance of the plant, so no treatment was required.