How to Grow Hyssop
What is Hyssop?
The Hyssop or Hyssopus officinialis is part of the Lamiaceae family.The herb is native to the Mediterranean region.
Hyssop was one of the first herbs to be brought to the New World by the colonists. The popular herb was used in teas, tobaccos, and medicine. It is also said that the Persians used distilled hyssop water to give their skin a luminescent quality.
Hyssop is even mentioned in the Bible in Psalm 51:7 "Purge me with Hyssop and I shall be clean." Although, there is some debate among Bible scholars as to whether the verses actually refer to the Hyssop herb that we know of today.
The Hyssop plant is very aromatic and attracts bees and butterflies. Plant Hyssop near gardens or use as a vegetable garden border to aid with pollination.
Common Types of Hyssop
There are many different types of Hyssop known today. Here are a few of the more commonly grown varieties of Hyssop:
Hyssopus officinalis - Most common type with blue flowers that bloom from summer to early fall. The plant gets about 30-34 inches tall and 34-36 inches wide.
Hyssopus officinalis f. albus - Similar sizing to the one above, only it has white flowers instead of blue.
Hyssopus officinalis roseus - Similar sizing to Hyssopus officinalis, only with pink flowers instead of blue.
Hyssop in Container
How to Grow Hyssop
There are two ways to begin growing Hyssop; from seed or from cutlings.
Grow Hyssop From Seeds:
To grow Hyssop from seeds, it is best to start indoors in seed trays or containers. Hyssop seeds are fragile and require protective cover. Seeds do best when the soil temperature can be kept around 60-70 degrees Farenheit.
Once the seedlings have matured and are too big for the seed trays or containers, you can transplant in the garden after the last frost.
You will want to plant the seedlings at least 18 inches apart to give room for growth. If you are planting for purely costmetic reasons and not culinary then you want to space them further apart.
- Plant near cabbage to discourage cabbage whiteflies
Grow Hyssop from Cuttings:
To grow Hyssop from cuttings, use soft wood cuttings from the fresh growth on the non-flowering stems of the Hyssop plant.
Plant the cutlings in the spring after the last frost.
Grow Hyssop in Containers
Even though the Hyssop plant can grow to be very large, if properly trimmed and maintained the Hyssop can also thrive in containers. The aromatic scent makes a great addition to any balcony or patio garden.
The container Hyssop prefers plenty of sunshine and drier conditions. It is not as affected by city pollution and smog, so it makes a great window box or balcony plant for the inner-city gardener.
Cooking with Hyssop
The Hyssop flowers are a great addition to any summer salad. The Hyssop leaves are far more potent than the flowers themselves, and should be used sparingly.
The herb has a slightly minty bitter flavor and is a great addition to soups, stews, and stuffings. Use the herb as a rub on your meats, chicken, pork, or game.
Medicinal Uses for Hyssop
Hyssop is a very popular herb used as herbal medicine. If made into a poultice, it can be used to treat bruises and burns.
Hyssop infused tea has been used to treat coughs, asthma, bronchitis, and other upper respiratory infections.
It has also been known to decrease inflammation in the urinary tract.
In colonial times, it was thought to be a good treatment for rheumatism.
Hyssop in any form should not be used or ingested during pregnancy.
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