Hyssop is an aromatic herbaceous plant from the family Lamiaceae. It belongs to a subgroup (tribe) of Mint. In the natural environment, the plant can be found in the Mediterranean, Central Asia, Crimea and the Caucasus. Thanks to its deep blue colors, hyssop is also called the "St. John's wort". The flower prefers rocky mounds, plains, gentle hills, steppes. In addition to decorative properties, hyssop has a host of other interesting characteristics. It is an excellent medicine, honey plant and fragrant seasoning. The plant is very unpretentious, so he should look for a corner in the garden.
Hyssop is a perennial herb or shrub with a height of 50-60 cm. It is nourished by a strong rod root. The stems branch more at the bottom. They grow vertically and have a tetrahedral shape with a hollow core. The ribbed surface of the shoots is covered with dark green skin with a short pile. Over time, the rhizome and the base of the stems woody.
Small dark green leaves sit on the shoot or grow on very short petioles along the entire length. They are opposite. A lanceolate or oval leaf plate grows 2-4 cm in length and 4-9 mm in width. All parts of the plant exude an intense bitter-spicy aroma and have a sharp bitter taste.
In June-September, the top of the stem is decorated with short and dense spike-shaped inflorescences. Small spikelets consisting of 3-7 corollas grow in the axils of the upper leaves. From a distance, the stem resembles a bright candle. Small buds are painted in lilac, pink, white or dark blue tones. An irregular two-lipped flower is pollinated by insects. Hyssop is an excellent honey plant.
The fruits of the plant are very small tetrahedral ovoid nuts. There are more than 1000 units per 1 g of seed.
Types of Hyssop
A few decades ago, the genus of hyssop numbered more than 50 species. After a recent revision of the classification, only 7 plant species remained.
Hyssopus officinalis (narrow-leaved, ordinary). A plant with stiff sturdy stems forms a branched shrub 20-80 cm high. The stem roots along with the base of the shoots quickly lignify. The upper part of the stems is bare or lowered by a short pile. Opposite leaflets almost without petioles have a lanceolate shape. They are painted in dark green. In July-August, one-sided spike-shaped inflorescences, which are located in the axils of the apical leaves, bloom. A two-lipped nimbus of blue, violet, pink or white color peeps out of a light green cup. Long stamens protrude from the center. Tiny nuts in the form of nuts ripen by September.
Hyssop chalk. Branched shoots grow 20-50 cm in height and form an elongated bush. The variety got its name for its love to settle on Cretaceous deposits, subsequently forming nutritious soil suitable for other plants. In June-August, the tops of the stems are decorated with small blue-violet flowers collected in spike-shaped inflorescences. From them comes an intense balsamic aroma.
In addition to the listed species, there are several decorative garden varieties. They are used for landscape design. The main difference is the color of the inflorescences. Among the most interesting are varieties:
- Pink flamingo;
- White Nikitsky.
Hyssop is propagated by seeds, cuttings and division of the bush. Seeds remain viable for up to 3-4 years. When growing hyssop from seeds, remember that it is cross-pollinated. Therefore, the offspring in appearance may differ from their parents. Crops are produced immediately in open ground or pre-grown seedlings.
For the seedling method, in mid-March, the seed material is distributed in boxes with a sand-peat mixture. Prepare grooves with a depth of 0.5-1 cm with a distance of 5-10 cm. Shoots appear together in 1.5-2 weeks. When 4 true leaves appear in the sessions, they are dived into peat pots or boxes with a distance of 5 cm. Seedlings at the age of 7-8 weeks are planted in open ground.
For seedling-free sowing in late April or early May, the site is dug up and holes are formed with a depth of 5-8 mm with a distance of 50-60 cm.The grown plants are thinned, increasing the distance to 20 cm.To prevent young plants from being affected by night frost, they are covered with a film.
At the end of March or April, a strong, overgrown hyssop bush at the age of 3-4 years is divided into parts. For this, the plant is completely dug up and cut with a sharp knife into delenki with several sprouts and a section of the root. They are immediately planted in a new place. Plants are shallow.
During the summer, you can sprinkle the center of the bush with side shoots of earth. The stems are rooted and can be transplanted as independent plants. To adapt faster, the sprouts are shortened by 30-50%.
Hyssop does not require constant attention, but you still need to take care of the plant. He should choose an open, sunny place with loose, unfilled soils. Where groundwater comes close to the surface, hyssop will languish or die. A slightly alkaline or neutral soil with high fertility is preferred. Before landing, the site should be prepared. Fertilize and slaked lime. In one place, the bush grows for about 5 years.
The main care is reduced to weeding and loosening the soil. Hyssop suffers from weed aggression, so they try to tear them out right away.
The plant is resistant to drought, so water it only with prolonged absence of rainfall (usually 2-3 times per season). When the soil is too dry and cracked, the bushes are watered at the rate of up to two buckets of water per m² area.
It is important to regularly cut the shoots. The bushes are rounded, cutting off up to half of the young shoots. As a result, flowering will be more plentiful, and the vegetation well-groomed. So that the plant does not suffer too much from radical pruning, it is carried out twice a year (sanitary spring and molding in the fall).
Hyssop is resistant to cold and usually winters well without shelter in the south of the country. In the more northern regions, since autumn, the soil and the base of the shoots are covered with peat mulch and wrapped in fallen leaves. In early spring, it is important to remove the shelter in a timely manner, so that the plant is full.
Blue St. John's wort is highly resistant to diseases and pests. Its fragrant shoots scare away insects from neighboring crops, so regular processing is not necessary.
The flowers, leaves and stems of hyssop contain many useful substances. Among them are:
- essential oils;
For medicinal purposes, the entire ground part of the plant is harvested. Collection is carried out in the summer at the budding stage. Raw materials are dried outdoors under a canopy. Over time, it becomes less odorous. The plant is crushed and stacked in a paper or fabric bag. Keep the medicine in a cool, ventilated place.
Folk remedies from hyssop in the form of decoctions, alcohol tinctures, ointments, oils and lotions are used in very diverse cases. They have expectorant, laxative, bactericidal, diuretic, stimulating effects.
Tea helps strengthen the immune system and relieve colds, bronchitis, runny nose, and asthma. Lotions relieve pain and inflammation as a result of injuries and bruises, they are also used to treat fungal infections. Decoctions are taken orally with an upset gastrointestinal tract. They also have beneficial effects on women's health (relieve pain and mood swings).
Hyssop has stimulating and tonic effects. However, this is its contraindication for pregnant women and people suffering from seizures and epilepsy. In no case should they not only take the drug inside, but even inhale the aroma of essential oil.
Hyssop in the garden
Lush green bushes with blue with inflorescences look good in the garden in a natural style. They allow you to create a steppe corner or a piece of wildlife in the country. Hyssop thickets are good on gentle hills, in rockeries and alpine hills.
Due to its sophisticated aroma, the plant is popular in cooking. Shredded leaves are added to hot dishes, and the hostess put hyssop twigs in cans with preservation.