Hyssopus officinalis

Hyssop blooms in spikes of blue.

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) Labiatae, is a compact, bushy perennial usually grown in herb gardens, but is great in flower gardens in masses, as a hedge or border, and in pots. It is native to Europe and Asia, naturalized throughout North America.

Hyssop blooms in late summer through early autumn with flower spikes of deep blue, red, pink or white. It is a member of the mint family and has a very aromatic somewhat medicinal smell. When the leaves are crushed they have a mint like odor. Because of its medicinal smell Hyssop has a history as a cleansing herb.

In the seventh century it was scattered on floors of sick rooms. It was also used to improve the smell of kitchens. Both the leaves and flowers can be used. The leaves can be finely chopped and used in cooking to flavor salads, soups, liqueurs and stews. It cuts down on the fattiness in some dishes. Use sparingly because of its unusual flavor. The leaves and flowers can be dried for teas. Oil from the plant is used in perfumes.

Growing the Herb Hyssop

Hyssop can be started in containers, indoors or outdoors.  If you plant in a container make sure the pot is deep enough to accommodate a large root system. Sow seeds indoors or directly in the garden in early spring. Hyssop prefers full sun to partial shade with a well drained, even dry, soil.  You can amend soil with organic matter. Sow seeds just beneath the surface, approximately ¼-inch deep.  Germination generally takes between 14 and 21 days, but can take as long as a month, so be patient.  Transplant if sown indoors after all threat of frost has passed.  Space between 6 inches and 12 inches apart.  You can also sow the seeds outdoors in late fall for spring germination.

Growing Cultures

Outdoors, containers (sow direct in final pots, or in plugs and later transplant to final pots), and hydroponics.

Plant Height

Hyssop usually grows to a height of 24 to 36 inches (60 – 90cm).

Plant Spacing

Space Hyssop plants between 6 and 12 inches (15 and 30 cm) apart.

Preferred pH Range

Hyssop will grow in a wide pH range between 5.0 (strongly acidic) and 8.0 (alkaline) with an ideal range between 6.5 and 7.0.


Hyssop can be propagated several different ways.   Root division in spring or fall; cuttings in late spring to early summer, and by seed in spring.  

Seed Germination Period

Hyssop seeds will germinate in soil between approximately 14 and 31 days, but can germinate in as few as 10 to 14 days in dedicated propagation media such as Oasis Rootcubes, Rapid Rooters, or Grodan Stonewool.

Number of Seeds per Gram

There are between approximately 900 and 1,000 hyssop seeds per gram.

Soil Requirements

Hyssop prefers soils that are light and well drained.

Alternative Growing Media

Soilless potting mixes (Pro-Mix, Sunshine Mix, etc.), perlite, vermiculite, rockwool, coco peat, Oasis Rootcubes.

Sun & Lighting Requirements

Hyssop grown outdoors prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade well.

Hyssop will grow indoors satisfactorily under standard fluorescent lamps, and exceptionally well under high output T5 fluorescent grow lights, compact fluorescent, or high intensity discharge (metal halide or high pressure sodium) plant growing lights.

Keep standard fluorescent lamps between 2 and 4 inches from the tops of the plants, high output and compact fluorescents approximately one foot above the plants, and HID lights between 2 and 4 feet above the plants, depending on wattage.

Have an oscillating fan gently stir seedlings for at least 2 hours per day to stimulate a more compact, and sturdier plant habit.

USDA Hardiness

Zones 3 through 9.

Water Requirements

Water regularly, being careful not to overwater. Allow soil to go completely dry between watering, then soak thoroughly. Tolerates dry conditions well.

Potential Plant Pests and Diseases

Hyssop is highly impervious to virtually all pests and diseases.

Companion Planting

Hyssop is a good companion plant for cabbage by attracting honeybees and butterflies while repeling or distracting cabbage moth larvae and cabbage butterflies. It is also said to stimulate the growth of grapes.

Special Notes

Hyssop is known to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Buy Hyssop Seeds by Hyssop True Hyssop Organic Heirloom Seeds
Wonderful for late summer bloom, true hyssop is an easy-care, first-year flowering perennial that brings bees, beneficial insects and butterflies to the garden.

Lavender Hyssop Seeds
Also known as anise hyssop and licorice mint, this native midwestern U.S. perennial is loved by bees and butterflies.

Agastache Sunset Hyssop Seeds
Also called Licorice Mint, Sunset Hyssop is a Southwestern U.S. native. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees flock to its nectar-filled bright orange and lavender flower spikes.