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aga tangoOne noteable hit to come out of our Sneak Peek program at MANTS this year is Agastache 'Tango', a Hummingbird Mint with bright orange-red blooms. The color comes from small trumpets that open up along a tall dark stalk that stands about 12 to 16 inches in height. A really happy Tango can get up to 20 inches at the top of its flower stalk.

'Tango', like all Agastaches, is a good nectar producer that attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies (hence, the common name of Hummingbird Mint). The flower is lightly aromatic, not heavily scented. If you crush the leaves, you will get a strong anise scent (hence, their other common name of Anise Hyssop).

'Tango' is a Jelitto introduction in 2011, and a top pick from their Agastache breeding program. Jelitto selected this one for its dense flowering spikes and more vigorous growth. 'Tango' also has a compact habit and good branching when compared to prior cultivars.

Tango will stay in bloom from mid-summer to early autumn. They are hardy to zone 5 and grow in full sun. The foliage has a grey-green color to it. Moderately deer-resistant, the plant is reasonably bushy for an agastache.

Agastaches are noted for their stiff, upright stems covered in different types of two-lipped trumpets, depending on the species. Most garden-worthy agastaches are crosses that blend the best qualities from among 9 to 12 different species. There is still a lot of 'wild' in Agastaches, so not all species or cultivars make a big impression.

With 'Tango,' we now offer four distinctive colors of Agastache with garden-worthy performance:
  • Pink ('Heatwave')
  • Orange ('Tango')
  • Blue ('Blue Fortune')
  • Purple ('Black Adder')
As you can see, we really like the nectar-rich ones known as Hummingbird Mints. They bloom steadily from about mid-summer and continue deep into autumn. They are known for their ability to attract crowds of hummingbirds, butterflies and honeybees. For anyone planting some serious feeding stations for beneficial insects, Agastaches are a major summer and autumn platform.

Apparently, Agastaches are famous in beekeeping circles - so rich in pollen the bees visit no other plant while the plant is in bloom. Agastache honey is reputed to be of good quality, light in color and slightly minty in taste.

In many ways, Agastaches pair up well with Salvias. As the spring Salvias run out of nectar, the summer Agasgaches pick up the slack.

Agastaches are native to the southern United States and Mexico, so they tolerate drought conditions and dry spells pretty well. They also handle the summer heat of zone 9 and 10, but their weakness is wet summers. Of the four cultivars we sell, Tango is bred to tolerate wet or humid summers better than the other cultivars.

For a southern plant, Agastaches have proven to be pretty cold-hardy as well. They are reliablity cold hardy to zone 5.

In the garden, we see Agastaches paired up with Lavenders all the time, epecially Lavender 'Hidcote Blue'. It seems to be a classic combination.

For nectar production, pair Agastaches with with spring nectar producers such as Salvia 'May Night,' 'Marcus,' or 'Caradonna.' In the fall, put some Sedum 'Autumn Joy' or 'Matrona' to beef up autumn nectar production for the winter.

Other garden parings we've seen are Eriogonums, short Echniaceas such as Kim's Knee Hight, Gallaridias, Carex, and short Euphorbias such as 'Baby Joe'.

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