- In stock, ready to ship
- Inventory on the way
Usually available: All year
Life cycle: Perennial
Position: Full sun
Soil preference: Well drained
This is how we pack and send your Herb Plants to all states except TAS & WA
You will receive
- 1 Hyssop Herb Plant in a 50 X 75mm tube - General growing instructions
All of our Herb Plants are grown organically with certified organic potting mixes and fertilizers
Botanical Name: Hyssopus officinalis
Hyssop is an herbaceous perennial, growing to about 60 cm tall with a bushy shrub like appearance. It has many woody stems that stand tall, with spikes of 6-15 small violet-blue flowers on the top of each stem in spring and summer. The dark to sage green leaves are narrow, lanceolate and about 2cm long. The flowers are highly fragrant and may also be pink or white. The whole plant has a pungent aroma courtesy of the stems, flowers and the bitter tasting leaves.
Hyssop gained its name from the Greek ‘ezov’ and/or the Hebrew word ‘azob’ both essentially meaning ‘holy herb’, because it was used for cleaning sacred places. The plant hyssop gained some acclaim from its appearance in the bible phrase “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean.” However, it is now thought that other plants common to the region were actually used and interpreted as hyssop in error.
Hyssop is a decorative plant that will complement any flower garden or used as a border plant. It is particularly attractive to bees and beekeepers use the plants to create a specific type of sweet, aromatic honey. Hyssop is native to the Mediterranean and other southern European areas, but has become naturalised in some areas of the world, such as North America.
Hyssop prefers full sun and grows to a compact shape and the strongest flavour in these conditions. However, the plant will tolerate shade for part of the day. Hyssop will do well in free draining soil, which is light and fertile. Hyssop can often tolerate dry periods while waiting for rainfall, so there is no need to over water. In tropical conditions, hyssop may need protection from heavy soil and heavy rains by growing in a container.
Hyssop may be propagated by seed or by taking softwood cuttings in spring. Alternatively, plants can be divided and replanted in new positions immediately. When they are ready for transfer to the main garden area, seedlings can be planted 30cm apart.
To dry the leaves or flowers for later use, cut bunches of flowering stems and hand them upside down to dry in a dark, airy place. Once dry, they can be crumbled into a jar for later use or stored whole if full flowers are required. They are not suitable for freezing.
Hyssop is described as having a strong, but refreshing minty taste, and as having an ‘interesting taste’, due to its strong, bitter flavour. It was popular with Ancient Romans, who used it as a wine, although it is said to have been very strong, compared to modern wines. The French liqueurs, Benedictine and Chartreuse, contain hyssop as one of the essential ingredients.
In medieval times, monks used hyssop to spice soups and stews. Used in moderation one or two small fresh leaves, finely chopped, can add appeal to soups, stews, sauces and stuffing. Hyssop is useful in meals with a high fat content as it aids fat digestion. The sweetly scented flowers can add flavour and colour to green salads, or be used in pickles and preserves.
Hyssop can be made into a relaxing herbal tea by taking a teaspoon of dried leaves or flowers and allowing them to steep in 250 mls of hot water. You can add honey to flavour or remove the bitterness. For a lighter herbal tea, try adding lemon balm or spearmint to hyssop.
Hyssop is noted as being underutilised in modern medicine and has a long history of use as an expectorant in respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis. It is also valued for improving digestive function. However, modern research has not yet found significant evidence for these benefits. Hyssop has been used in eye drops and mouth wash and is still valued for external use on cuts, bruises and muscular pains.
Hyssop has many active ingredients and contains terpenes, volatile oils and flavonoids. It also contains the chemicals thujone and phenol, which have antiseptic properties. Thujone also stimulates the nervous system and can result in epileptic fits if taken in high doses. In children, even a small amount can cause fitting and should be completely avoided. Pregnant women should also avoid hyssop due to the risk of miscarriage.
The oil distilled in from hyssop is used in perfumes and commercial cosmetics. Cooled hyssop tea is a refreshing and cleansing facial rinse. As noted above, beekeepers use hyssop to create an aromatic honey.
Hyssop is a bee and butterfly attractant, so any plant that will benefit from having extra pollinators will benefit from hyssop planted nearby. Hyssop also repels slugs and cabbage moths or white butterflies, which seems in contradiction to the butterfly attractant qualities of hyssop. However, there should be less green caterpillars feeding on green leafed vegetables with the presence of hyssop.
All information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Please seek professional advice before commencing any treatment.