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Hummingbird mints, or hyssops, are among the premier butterfly attracting plants for Inland Empire gardens. While these are short-lived perennials, their fast growth, colorful and fragrant pink to orange flowers, and nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds is greatly valued during the summer months. Sizes and foliage character varies among species and cultivars, most grow 2-3 ft. tall and have aromatic foliage.

All types of hummingbird mints grow best in sunny locations and in well draining soils with moderate summer water. Trimming in late fall helps maintain good character and for renewed springtime growth. They are popular in mixed perennial plantings as well as southwestern style gardens.

Species and cultivars of hummingbird mint vary from nursery to nursery. Several types that can be found include: A. 'Tangerine Dreams', with gray green leaves with an upright habit that grows 2-3 ft. tall. A. barberi 'Tutti Frutti', know as pink hyssop, grows to 2 ft. tall and 3-4 ft. wide and has dense spikes of pink flowers. A. rupestris 'Apache Sunset', grows upright 2-3 ft. tall and 3-4 ft. wide with blended maroon and orange flowers.

Water Needs

Hummingbird mints, or hyssops, easily grow in Inland Empire gardens when planted in areas of full sun and when sustained with moderate amounts of summer water. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months marked by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water and you should make irrigation adjustments based of field observations of growth and character.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Perennial
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Mounding
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.
Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Pale green, Gray green
Flower Color: Red, Pink, Yellow, Purple, Lavender, Orange
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Rocky soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Rock gardens, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Hummingbird plant, Container plant, Borders, Banks, Fragrant foliage, Attracts butterflies


This is a deciduous perennial plant, meaning it dies to the ground every winter and regrows in the spring, or whenever the weather begins to warm again in Southern California. After blooming, plants will begin to look ragged in the late fall. Whenever plants look like they are in decline for the season, cut almost all the way to the ground in the late fall. Plants will then usually remain dormant until heat stimulates them to begin growing again. During the spring and summer, dead heading (cutting off) spent blooms will extend the blooming period (S).



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