I can't say enough about anise hyssop. It's a carefree perennial with so many endearing characteristics. First and foremost it is beloved by so many pollinators; bees of all sorts, butterflies and hummingbirds — the holy trinity, the trifecta! Minutes ago when I took my camera to the garden I counted at least six monarchs on this single plant! Such a great source of nectar at this crucial time before they begin their arduous migration.
Agastache foeniculum , not to be confused with other hyssops, is a stately plant that reaches 4 feet tall and around 3-4 feet in width. With pretty pale purple flower spikes and dark green slightly crinkled foliage it's an attractive candidate for the back of the border, herb garden, meadow or mixed native planting. Here in my Minnesota garden it blooms starting in late August, a welcome sight when other flowers are starting to fade. Anise hyssop is rarely bothered by pests, better yet deer find it unappealing.
Besides being ornamental, it qualifies as an herb, a plant for both "use and delight". The fragrant leaves make a lovely tisane (an herbal "tea") that smells of root beer or licorice depending upon your sniffer. Some folks use the leaves in jellies, the seeds in baked goods. The individual florets could adorn a salad.
Anise hyssop is easy to grow in zones 4-8, thriving in full sun and average, well-drained soil but adapting to dry soil or part shade if necessary. It may naturalize in places where it's happy, spreading by rhizome or self-seeding. Share with neighbors and friends if it gets too big.