Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a beautiful plant that comes from southern Europe and the Middle East. Long before the Middle Ages, it was attributed a sacred meaning and a purifying role.
This herbaceous perennial is certainly one of the most beautiful aromatic plants. It is nicknamed "holy grass" thanks to its name which comes from the Hebrew word "Esob" and which means holy herb. Although it is a little bit forgotten, this aromatic and ornamental shrub, but also melliferous, is very present in the Mediterranean region. Its leaves, cooked or raw, are used as a condiment while the flowers are used in green salads or popurrí for their delicious fragrance. In addition to seasoning, its leaves, with a touch of mint and sage flavour, are also used as an infusion.
Hyssop propagation can be done in three ways:
Sowing: First of all, seeds need to be soaked for at least 12 hours. Seeding can be done broadcast or in rows (1 cm deep) and germination takes place about 15 days later. It can be done under chassis from March to May, then from May to July outdoors. It must be watered lightly throughout the whole sowing period. Seedlings can be transplanted when they reach 4 to 5 cm. If sowing is done under shelter seedlings must be lifted when they reach 15-20 cm approximately, leaving a distance of about 60 cm in all directions.
Cutting: A 10 cm branche has to be picked, striped at the base and then deleafed. A damp substrate must be maintained until recovery. It will result better in late spring, early summer.
Root division: It is also possible to propagte hyssop by dividing tufts during the spring, or even better in autumn. If it's done in spring, it's possible to enjoy it after a few weeks. If it is done in autumn, it will be necessary to wait until the beginning of the following spring.
Location / Exposure
Although it also tolerates partial shade, this beautiful herb needs a sunny exposure. As well as an ordinary soil, even poor, rather dry, light and well-drained.
As soon as they appear, flowers need to be cut to favor the emission of tender leaves. A slightly bigger trim in the fall (after flowering) will increase its ramifications. It will remain compact and bushy, and will bloom faster the following year. It is good to take advantage of the trim to give to hyssop a neat shape. It is also necessary to mulch the soil when the plant is young and thus to water only in case of drought. It is also important to divide the plants every 4 or 5 years because they run out quickly.
The flowers and leaves of this herb can be eaten fresh as and when needed. They can also be dried in a dark and airy place, but in this case they must be harvested before flowering. It is better to use only the young leaves at the end of the twigs.
Hyssop is a hardy plant, but if the climate is too strong it must be wintered in a cool room until spring. Before winter, the plant should be cut to 10-15 cm from the ground and protected with good mulching. In frosty areas, foliage disappears, but in milder areas it remains partially.