Hyssop: Why You Need to Make Some Space for This Herb

Hyssop is easy to grow and can provide a multitude of benefits to you and your homestead. It’s worth carving some space out in the garden for.

A close up of several hyssop branches.

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a member of the mint family and you’ll want to make room for it in your herb garden this year. Don’t worry, although it is related to mint, and it does spread, it spreads at a much slower rate than the mints you might be familiar with. The first year you plant, it will look like a frilly clump, but as it gets older, it will form a nice rounded bush about 2′ tall.

I plant it as a landscaping plant, with its violet-blue spikes of flowers, because I enjoy its beauty as well as its culinary and medicinal uses. The local pollinators enjoy it as much as I do. Even the hummingbirds stop by to admire it.

Hyssop vs. Anise

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the differences between true hyssop and anise hyssop. Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) and true hyssop flowers appear similar and even taste similar, but they come from different roots. Hyssop comes from Europe. Anise is native to North America and tends to be more drought-resistant. The real reason to assure that your hyssop is true hyssop is that it has medicinal benefits that anise does not. |

Medicinal Uses

Hyssop is often times used as a cough and cold remedy, usually in the form of tea. It loosens mucus, aids in congestion, and lessens the symptoms of colds, flu, sinus infections, and bronchitis.

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a member of the mint family and you'll want to make room for it in your herb garden this year.
Left: Hyssopus officinalis; Right: Agastache foeniculum

Culinary Uses

The flavors are hard to describe. It’s a somewhat bitter, minty-licorice flavor. It’s used to flavor the popular liqueur, Absinthe. The leaves add a nice minty note to marinades (use sparingly) and the flowers are a nice decorative and refreshing element to salads.

Growing Hyssop in Your Garden

Hyssop is very easy to grow. In the northern US and southern Canada, it can be found growing along the side of the road. It’s hardy in zone 3-10. It can easily be started from seed indoors, but if you can find an established plant, you can divide the root ball to start new clumps. To start, collect seeds from an established plant, let the flowers dry, and then “paper bag” them in the fall.

Plant in full sun with an 18-24″ spacing. If you want a bushier plant, in the spring, prune heavily to encourage new growth.

Cough & Congestion Tea

Feel a cold coming on? Try this recipe.

5 stars

Hyssop Cough & Congestion Tea

A deliciously minty tea with licorice notes.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:2 minutes
Steep Time:10 minutes
Total Time:12 minutes

This post may contain paid links. If you make a purchase using the links in this recipe, I may earn a commission.



  • 1 tbsp. Dried Hyssop or 3 tbsp. of fresh
  • 8 oz. Water
  • 1 tbsp. Raw Honey
  • 1 tsp. Lemon


  • Steep flowers in boiling water in a covered container for ten minutes. I like to use a tea infusing spoon.
    1 tbsp. Dried Hyssop, 8 oz. Water
  • Add lemon (optional) and honey. Honey can be adjusted for optimal sweetness.
    1 tbsp. Raw Honey, 1 tsp. Lemon


Dried hyssop leaves and flowers can be kept in an airtight container for up to 18 months.


Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 888IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Lemon, Medicinal
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 56kcal

For additional cold and flu remedies, you can make at home, check out How to Make Elderberry Syrup, Homemade Ginger & Lime Cough Syrup, and Homemade Fire Cider. You may also find relief with 3 Hot Drinks & Teas That Help You Detox

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A pinterest-friendly graphic promoting hyssop in the garden.

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  2. Judy Pohlers says:

    This was most interesting and I am looking forward to planting Hyssop! Comments were fun to read, too

  3. Michaela Johnson says:

    Last year I moved into a house with clumps of hyssop taking up a three foot square expanse of the front garden. I love the fact that it attracts the bees and butterflies, but would like to plant other pollinators in the garden. However ti appears to take over and I’m afraid it will overtake newly established plants. It is also coming up here and there in other areas of the yard. Any ideas on how to control it? Thanks so much for any insights.

    1. Heather Tamayo says:

      If you are willing to mail them I’ll happily take some of those hyssop bushes off of your hands. Send me a text at 843-860-5681 & I can walk you through digging them up & prepping them for the mail. I’m totally willing to costs.

  4. I got super lucky one day and stumbled upon hyssop plants being sold and I immediately knew what I was looking at! Naturally I scooped up two, I probably should’ve got four lol But this was a few years ago and now they are huge! They are my favorite part of my garden because they are big, bushy and they smell terrific. They attract bumble bees ? and butterflies ? and that makes me happy because we need to keep the pollinators happy and abundant. Best parts is I get an ongoing supply to dry out and use for tea. I’m actually drinking some now because I’ve got a bellyache. I went strait to my tea supply and made up a mixture of hyysop, spearmint and slippery elm bark. It’s so nice to have things on hand that are natural and homegrown.

  5. Hello. I love to learn new herbs that help with health naturally. The minute I read “ads flavor to Absinthe” I knew that this is an herb I will definitely try to grow myself. I will check back and read your new articles and will tell about you to many of my friends. Again thank you.

  6. Your article is very good, your article gives me a great source of inspiration and information. But reading the comments below I am a little confused because the opinions are quite different.

  7. I love to pull a few leaves of my hyssop and crush them in my hands and just breathe it in! I use the leaves most often for teas as they are available year round. I also make sure to label my herbs with their Latin names. Common names of herbs can be very confusing sinse many have the same name.
    I went through the same confusing name game with Vervain, Verbena, and Aloysia Citrodora which are all called verbena.

  8. The Herb Lady says:

    Hyssop can also be used as a small hedge in a formal garden in place of the usual box hedge.

  9. I grow hyssop in my garden and I love the fragrance. Sometimes when I want to freshen the air in my kitchen, I pour some boiling water over a few fresh hyssop sprigs in a bowl, and it smells so lovely and fresh. I originally planted it because I had heard the flowers and leaves have wound healing properties, so I wanted to include it in my homemade healing salve (which I did do, but haven’t had a chance to test it yet).

  10. Hyssop is also has a wonderful fragrance that will envelope your garden! It’s lovely, and grows quite tall. So planting it behind shorter plants would be best!

  11. I am a little confused… first it says to get the true variety for medicinal uses and then says to gather seeds from wild plants. wouldn’t the wild seeds be the non-medicinal N. American variety? so, if i want the med. kind, i would not gather seeds and only buy the ones from Europe in a seed catalog. right?

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      When I said “true” I meant hyssop and not anise. Both can be found wild throughout North America. Just make sure you are checking those leaves and blossoms before harvesting.

    2. A lot of plants we have in North America have been brought here from overseas. So I’m assuming that’s the case for blue hyssop (true hyssop)

  12. Do the leaves also have any medicinal properties?

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      I am not familiar with any common medicinal uses for the leaves, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Sorry I don’t have more information for you.

  13. Sondra Dickerson says:

    where might I purchase a Hyssop plant. Have inquired at several nurseries within a 50 mile radius of my residence. The keepers of the nurseries give me the look of sure thing lady. Lost your mind…

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      It can be hard to track down locally, especially the plants. They sell the seeds on Amazon if that helps. http://amzn.to/1Rl2piX

      1. Kathy Tignor says:

        I found a place called “Grower’s Exchange” and they offer herbal and medicinal plants; there are plenty of online places that sell seeds, but I’d prefer the jump start of already established plants. Most of their plants start at $5.95, some a few dollars more. Just search the name: The Growers Exchange. Photos of the plants, too. A great place to look for those “hard to find” herbal and medicinal plants. Hope this helps you.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

  15. Is it pet friendly? Is it toxic to dogs?

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      Hyssop is both dog and cat friendly.

  16. jeannemarie says:

    Butterflies love it too, I volunteered at a butterfly house and it was always covered with butterflies

  17. Hyssop is also a great companion plant for grapes as it invigorates their growth and deters pests.

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      Good to know! My grapes need all the help they can get. The ducks pulled the protective netting down and the chickens had a party. They are sad looking grape plants now.

    2. Thanks Mike. I am planting mine near the grapes and good to know it will help them.

    3. Anna@GreenTalk says:

      I grow hyssop from seed. It is really easy. I use the leaves and the flowers for the cough syrup. It drives me crazy when people confuse anise and hyssop. Hyssop actually retains its leaves during the winter while anise doesn’t.

      Anise does have medicinal attributes according to Susun Weed. Read here: http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/August11/nourish-yourself.htm

      1. Leatrice Gulbransen says:

        I’m still confused after reading all the comments. Here in Central California we have what grows wild and looks exactly like Dill. People call it Anise. Smells like black licorice. Now I have Hyssop and Anise Hyssop to add to the confusion. Help ? LOL !

        1. A plant that looks like dill, but smells like black licorice would be fennel.

          1. Actually, anise is its own plant. It does indeed look similar to dill and smells like black licorice. It is different than fennel, but the three plants (dill, fennel, and anise) are in the same family, along with cumin and many other things. The scientific name of anise is Pimpinella anisum.

            “Anise hyssop” is a different plant that is not related to either anise or hyssop any more than a pineapple is related to a pine tree or an apple. Common names can be confusing and misleading! I’m assuming the common name of this plant comes from the fact that it smells a little like anise and has flowers that look a little like hyssop. No one ever sat around and had a hearing about what a plant’s common name should be, they kind of just come from some guy saying “hey, this reminds me of _____” and it catches on and sticks. Anyway the scientific name of anise hyssop is Agastache foeniculum.

            The one that’s called just hyssop has the scientific name of Hyssopus officinalis.

            You can use the scientific names to be 100% sure you’re talking about the thing you mean if you ever get confused.