Common name: Hyssop

Scientific name: Hyssopus officinalis

Family: Labiatae

Uses: Aromatic, cosmetic, culinary, and medicinal.Hyssop scents potpourris and perfumes. It is used in soothing herbal baths and in herbal facials to cleanse the skin. The mintlike leaves and flowers add flavor to green salads, soups, fruit salads, and teas. Hyssop can be grown in containers. It is said to have some medicinal qualities.

History: The name hyssop comes from the Greek hyssopos and the Hebrew esob meaning 'holy herb.'

Description: The bushy, compact, upright plant has many branched square stems which are woody at the bottom. The 1-to-1 1/2-inch long leaves are opposite, linear to lanceolate, and sessile. The two-lipped blue-violet flowers grow up to 1/2 inch long on spikes in successive axillary whorls. They have a bell-shaped calyx and a tubular corolla. The fruit is comprised of four nutlets.

Plant type: Perennial

Hardiness: Hardiness zones 4 to 5.

Height: 20 to 36 or more inches

Width: 16 inches


Soil: light, dry, rocky, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.7


Disease: None noted.

Cultivation: In early spring, sow seeds 1/4 inch deep. Thin in early summer to 1 foot apart for a tighter planting and 2 feet apart for ample spacing. Occasionally prune plants and remove old flower heads. Plants may need to be replaced every four to five years.
Companion planting: Hyssop is said to repel flea beetles and lure away cabbage moths. Try planting hyssop next to cabbage and grapes.

Propagation: Seeds; cuttings or division in spring or fall.

Flowering period: June to September

Flower color:


Garden notes: Hyssop must be planted early in the garden or started indoors. It attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.