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Do Deer Eat Agastache (Anise Hyssop)?

» Deer stories » Deer resistant plants » Do Deer Eat Agastache (Anise Hyssop)?
gardener notes Gardeners Notes
Plant type: perennials
Deer resistant: yes
Our plant hardiness zone:
New Zealand: subtropical
U.S. Zone 10b

Agastache foeniculum, or anise hyssop, is a versatile aromatic perennial from North America. This mint family plant grows 2-4 feet tall and has licorice-scented leaves. From midsummer to fall, it blooms with blue to purple flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Anise hyssop is valued in gardens for its beauty and is also used in cooking and medicine. Its leaves flavor teas, salads, and baked goods.

agastache in our garden bed
Agastache Indigo Towers in our garden bed by the crops and nasturtiums in spring

It is a wonderful plant to attract bees and some people might like it in their cheek because it's got nice licorice flavor, but the deer don't find it appealing or tasty at all and walk past it, ignore it and just let it be, so this perennial can withstand a lot of dear pressure. I've actually never seen a deer touch agastache plant.

On the other hand... regarding its aesthetic qualities.

We've been growing Anise Hyssop for a full year now (amongst our deer) so we can see the full cycle of this plant.

It looks very nice when it first grows and blooms and the leaves are fresh, it's wonderful, especially if you plant a lot of them in one row. All the buzzing bees ... very appealing, at first. But come autumn and the sight is much less pretty. Leaves are browning and dryish and tired.

Anise Hyssop same bed in autumn/winter
Anise Hyssop same bed in autumn/winter

I've tried pruning, but that didn't seem to help, so I've ended up pulling a few of them out. I think despite them being perennial it's not worth it, it's better to just grow them every year from seed. Which we're definitely going to do because it's a very useful deer-resistant plant to have. But maybe I should've tried cutting it fown to its roots and then it'd have regrown nicely? Might give it a go.

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