Blue hyssop is a beautiful perennial that blooms in the summer with clusters of light blue flowers. Plant it in your garden and enjoy its beauty, or use its leaves and flowers for herbal remedies.
Learn more about growing blue hyssop, using it, and harvesting it here. I’ll tell you everything you need to know!
Blue Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), comes from the Greek word “azob”, the Hebrew word “ezob” and both mean “holy herb”.
It has a long history as a spiritual cleansing herb and was often used to cleanse the temple and other places of holy worship.
Hyssop has a sweet, powerful and distinctive odor, and is a popular item in perfumery, potpourris, incense, bouquets, herb pillows and nose gays. The flowers, leaves, and stems are used both medicinally and in culinary recipes.
The aerial parts are often harvested for tinctures or syrups, to flavor sauces and honeys, and have been used in salads. They can also be dried for later medicinal use. 
Hyssop is used to relieve swelling, pain, discoloration of bruises, and assist in healing of wounds. It has also been used to help relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
Hyssop is a member of the mint family and is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is a perennial herb that grows to about 2 feet tall. The leaves are ovate or lanceolate and are 1-2 inches long. The flowers are blue, purple, or white and are borne in spikes.
Hyssop is used in herbal medicine and as a flavoring agent. It has a minty flavor with hints of anise and licorice. Hyssop oil is used in perfumes and cosmetics.
It has a calming action, which has also been used for relieving tension, anxiety, exhaustion, and depression. Its adaptogenic properties have also been used to offer support during times of stress.
It has been said that German herbalist Hildegaard of Bingen wrote:
hyssop cleanses the lungs and a meal of chicken cooked in hyssop and wine was the recommended treatment for depressionHildegaard of Bingen
Varieties and Cultivars of Hyssop
There are many varieties and cultivars of hyssop, including blue hyssop, golden hyssop, and variegated hyssop.
Blue hyssop is the most popular variety and is often used in gardens, but it’s certainly not the only option.
Golden hyssop has yellow or gold leaves and flowers, while variegated hyssop has leaves that are variegated with white or cream.
When growing hyssop, it is important to choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil. The plant is quite tolerant of drought and prefers dry conditions, but it will need occasional watering during extended periods of hot weather.
Hyssop can be propagated from seed or cuttings and will bloom from early summer to fall.
Although the plant is relatively low-maintenance, it may become floppy or leggy if not trimmed back regularly. Therefore, you will want to choose a planting location that is easy to access so you can maintain it as needed.
Growing Blue Hyssop
It just needs a dry, sunny location and can tolerate most soil types fairly well. Hyssop can be propagated from seeds, cuttings, or by dividing the roots.
Directly sow the seeds 1/4″ deep after the danger of frost has passed.
Thin to 12 inches.
Seedlings will need to be watered every few days, but the mature plants require little care.
Caring for Blue Hyssop Plants
Blue hyssop is easy to grow and care for, and it has a long blooming season. Here are some tips for tending to this plant.
When it comes to watering hyssop plants, it is important to strike a balance between too much and too little water. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while insufficient water can cause the plant to wilt and become stressed. Ideally, the soil should be allowed to dry out slightly between watering. During hot weather, hyssop plants may need to be watered on a daily basis.
Blue hyssop is relatively easy to grow, and does not require much maintenance. However, it is important to keep an eye on the plant for weeds.
Weeds can compete for resources and negatively impact the growth of the blue hyssop plant. If you see any weeds, it is best to remove them immediately.
You can also mulch around your plants to make weeding a bit less arduous, too.
Blue hyssop is relatively easy to care for and does not require frequent fertilizing. However, if you want to encourage blooming, you can feed your blue hyssop plants with a balanced fertilizer once or twice a year.
Apply the fertilizer according to the package directions, and be sure to water the plants well after applying it. In general, it is best to fertilize in the spring and early summer, when the plants are actively growing
Blue hyssop is relatively easy to care for and does not need to be deadheaded. However, it will benefit from periodic pruning.
Pruning encourages the plant to produce new growth, which can help to keep it looking compact and full. Trim off any dead or damaged leaves or stems as needed.
Once the plant begins to flower, you can cut back the stems by about half to encourage more blooming. Pinching back the tips of the stems will also promote fuller growth.
Some of the most common problems include powdery mildew, root rot, and leaf spot.
To control these problems, it is important to choose resistant varieties of blue hyssop, and to practice good gardening techniques such as crop rotation and avoiding overhead watering.
There are a number of common pests that can infest hyssop plants. Aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites are all small insects that feed on the leaves of the plant, causing them to turn yellow or brown.
Mealybugs and scale are two other types of pests that attack hyssop plants. These insects secrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which can attract ants and other unwanted pests.
In severe cases, an infestation of one of these pests can cause the leaves of the plant to drop off.
To control common pests, it is important to regularly check your plants for signs of infestation and take appropriate action if necessary. The good news is that most of these pests can easily be controlled with a quick blast from the garden hose.
If you start growing hyssop and discover that you quite enjoy it, then here’s some good news – you can propagate it to create new plants from the ones you already have!
Blue hyssop can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or division. Seeds should be sown in early spring, while cuttings and divisions can be done in late summer or early fall. When propagating by seed, it is important to stratify the seeds before planting.
This can be done by placing the seeds in a moistened paper towel and storing them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
Once stratification is complete, the seeds can be sown in pots filled with moistened potting mix. Cuttings should be taken from new growth and rooted in moistened sand or vermiculite.
Divisions should be made from established plants in the spring or fall. Each section should have several roots and at least one bud.
Companion planting is a technique that involves growing two or more plants together in order to improve their growth or yield. Hyssop makes an excellent companion plant for cabbage, kale, and other members of the brassica family.
These plants are susceptible to attack by caterpillars and other pests, but hyssop repels these pests with its strong fragrance.
In addition, hyssop can improve the flavor of brassica plants when they are grown together.
When choosing companions for hyssop, it is important to choose plants that have similar sun and water requirements. Plants that require more maintenance than hyssop can reduce its growth and vigor.
Though it is native to Eurasia, hyssop can be easily grown in containers in most temperate climates.
This perennial herb prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and it should be watered regularly during the growing season.
When growing hyssop in containers, it is important to choose a pot that is large enough to accommodate the plant’s roots.
The best way to grow hyssop in containers is to start with young plants from a nursery or garden center. They’ll mature faster than plants grown from seed.
Choose a pot that is at least 12 inches wide and has drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the pot with a well-drained, sterile potting mix and then water thoroughly.
Place the pot in a sunny location and water regularly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between watering.
When growing hyssop in containers, it is important to monitor the plant carefully for signs of stress. If the leaves begin to wilt or the plant seems otherwise unhealthy, take action immediately to improve cultural conditions.
Otherwise, you’ll care for your container-grown hyssop just as you would for hyssop grown directly in the ground.
Hyssop is also attractive to pollinators, making it a valuable addition to any garden. The plant’s small blue or purple flowers are especially attractive to bees and other small insects.
In addition, hyssop provides an important source of nectar for pollinators during the summer months when other flowers may be scarce.
As a result, planting hyssop can help to support local populations of bees and other pollinators.
Leaves can be harvested at any time, and the plant should be cut back just after flowering to 4 inches.
Save the flowers and dry for later use.
Does Hyssop Come Back Every Year?
Hyssop has a long blooming season, typically from June to August. It also reseeds readily, so it will often come back on its own the following year.
However, hyssop can be a bit finicky and may not return if it is not grown in ideal conditions.
If you want to ensure that your hyssop comes back next year, be sure to give it plenty of sun and well-drained soil. With a little care, you can enjoy this beautiful and fragrant herb for many years to come.
Ways to Use Hyssop
Hyssop can be used in a tincture, tea, compress or fomentation.
For a tea, the dosage would be 1-2 tablespoons per 8 oz. boiling water, steeped for 10 minutes. You could drink this 3 times a day. In a tincture form, the dosage would be 1-4mL of a 1:5 tincture.
To make this, you would add 10 grams of dried herb or 25 grams of fresh flowers to 50mL of menstruum. This could be in the form of alcohol (usually vodka), apple cider vinegar, or glycerin.
Store in a cool, dry place and shake every time you see it for 2-3 weeks. Drain all the plant matter and compost or discard. Label and date the tincture with the dosage and store out of direct sunlight.
Is Hyssop Easy to Grow?
Hyssop is easy to grow and requires little care once established. It is drought-tolerant and prefers full sun, but will tolerate partial shade.
Hyssop can be propagated by seed, division, or cuttings. It can also be invasive, so it is important to deadhead spent flowers and keep an eye on wandering roots.
Overall, hyssop is a low-maintenance herb that makes a great addition to any garden. Get started today!
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.