Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care


Hyssop is an aromatic herb with a woody base, native to the region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It features narrow, lance-shaped leaves that are dark green in color and arranged in opposite pairs along the square stems. The plant is known for its erect growth habit and the stems are covered with fine hairs. During its blooming period, hyssop produces small, tubular flowers that range in color from blue to violet, pink, red, or white. These flowers are densely packed in whorls on the upper part of the branches, creating a brush-like appearance. The blooms are attractive to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. The herb exudes a strong, camphor-like scent, especially when the leaves are crushed, which is both pungent and somewhat sweet.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Hyssop, Garden Hyssop, Herb Hyssop

    • Common names

      Hyssopus angustifolius, Hyssopus ambiguus, Hyssopus aristatus, Hyssopus beugesiacus, Hyssopus caucasicus, Hyssopus cretaceus, Hyssopus ferganensis, Hyssopus komarovii, Hyssopus latilabiatus, Hyssopus laxiflorus, Hyssopus officinalis var. aristatus, Hyssopus officinalis var. decumbens, Hyssopus officinalis subsp. aristatus, Hyssopus officinalis var. prostratus, Hyssopus patavinus, Hyssopus seravschanicus, Hyssopus tianschanicus, Hyssopus transcaspicus, Hyssopus vulgaris, Thymus hyssopus.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Hyssop is generally considered safe for most people in the amounts typically found in foods and in medicinal amounts. However, the essential oil contains pinocamphone and iso-pinocamphone, which can lead to convulsions and seizures if taken in high doses. It is not advisable for pregnant women to use hyssop, as it might cause the uterus to contract or start menstruation, which could lead to a miscarriage. People with epilepsy or any other seizure disorder should avoid hyssop due to its potential to trigger seizures. It is important to note that while the plant is considered to have low toxicity when consumed in amounts typically found in food, large doses or concentrated extracts can be harmful. If one accidentally ingests a large amount of hyssop or experiences adverse symptoms after consuming it, they should seek medical attention promptly.

    • To pets

      Hyssop is not commonly listed as a toxic plant to pets such as dogs and cats. However, as with humans, the essential oil of hyssop can be potentially harmful if ingested in large quantities due to its high concentration of pinocamphone and iso-pinocamphone, which can cause neurotoxicity. While mild ingestion is unlikely to cause harm beyond possible gastrointestinal upset, it's prudent to avoid allowing pets to consume large amounts of hyssop. If a pet does ingest a significant amount of hyssop and exhibits symptoms such as excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, or signs of central nervous system effects like tremors or seizures, it is important to consult a veterinarian immediately.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet (60 cm)

    • Spread

      2 feet (60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Southern Europe


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Culinary Uses: Hyssopus officinalis, commonly known as hyssop, is often used as a flavorful herb in cooking, particularly in Mediterranean cuisine, imparting a minty, slightly bitter taste.
    • Aromatic Properties: Hyssop's leaves and flowers are highly aromatic, making it a popular choice for potpourris and aromatic sachets.
    • Gardening and Landscaping: Due to its attractive flowers and shrub-like appearance, hyssop is a valuable addition to gardens for aesthetic purposes and as border plants.
    • Pollinator Attraction: Hyssop's flowers are appealing to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, making it an excellent plant for supporting pollinator populations.
    • Companion Planting: This plant can be used in companion planting strategies to assist in the growth of other plants and to deter specific pests.
    • Traditional Uses: While not medically validated, traditionally, hyssop has been used in various cultural ceremonies and as a symbol in religious contexts.
    • Erosion Control: Being a hardy perennial with a robust root system, hyssop can help with soil stabilization and erosion control.
    • Essential Oils: Hyssop is used in the production of essential oils for use in aromatherapy and perfumery, contributing a refreshing and clean scent.
    • Preservation: Hyssop has historically been utilized in the preservation of meats and as a natural preservative in cooking.
    • Crafting and Dyeing: The plant has been used to craft natural dyes and in traditional textile dyeing processes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Expectorant: Hyssopus officinalis, commonly known as hyssop, has been traditionally used to help loosen phlegm and relieve congestion.
    • Antispasmodic: May help alleviate spams, such as those affecting the respiratory system, potentially easing coughs.
    • Antiseptic: Contains compounds that are believed to have infection-preventing properties.
    • Anti-inflammatory: Could help reduce inflammation, potentially beneficial for conditions such as arthritis.
    • Carminative: Hyssop has been used to relieve gas and bloating in the digestive system.
    • Antiviral: Some compounds in hyssop may offer resistance against certain viruses.
    • Digestive aid: Traditionally used to support the digestive system, helping alleviate issues like indigestion.
    • Antifungal: Hyssop extracts might have properties that inhibit the growth of certain fungi.
    • Wound healing: Topically applied, hyssop has been used to clean and aid in the healing of wounds.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Hyssop can be used as a natural dye, providing a range of green hues for fabrics when used with different mordants.
    • It's added to some liquors and aperitifs for its aromatic and bitter qualities, such as in the production of Chartreuse.
    • The plant can be used in potpourri blends for its strong, pleasant aroma that can last for years.
    • In companion planting, hyssop is used to attract beneficial insects like honeybees and butterflies to the garden.
    • Gardeners also use hyssop as a hedge or border plant due to its compact growth habit and ornamental flowers.
    • It's sometimes incorporated into floral arrangements for its vibrant flowers and ability to retain color when dried.
    • Hyssop has been traditionally used for cleansing sacred spaces and in rituals for purification.
    • As a natural antiseptic, the essential oil derived from hyssop can be used for cleaning surfaces and utensils.
    • A strong infusion of the leaves can deter garden pests when used as a foliar spray.
    • The plant's aromatic leaves can be placed in closets and drawers as a natural insect repellent to ward off moths and other insects.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Hyssop is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Hyssop is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Purification: Hyssop has been traditionally associated with cleansing and purification, often used for washing sacred spaces and during ritualistic cleansing ceremonies.
    • Protection: The plant is believed to offer protection against negative energies and is sometimes used to guard against evil spirits.
    • Sacrifice: In biblical references, hyssop is mentioned as a symbol of sacrifice, particularly since it was used during the Passover in the Old Testament.
    • Healing: Hyssop's medicinal properties have historically made it a symbol of healing and physical well-being, as it was used in herbal remedies.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Hyssop, or Hyssopus officinalis, should be watered moderately to maintain lightly moist soil. During active growth in spring and summer, water hyssop once or twice a week depending on the climate, ensuring you provide about one inch of water weekly. In hot, dry periods, you may need to increase watering frequency, but always allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Over the winter, reduce watering significantly and only water when the soil is dry to the touch. Due to its Mediterranean origin, hyssop is relatively drought-tolerant and can endure short periods of dryness, but consistent overwatering can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    Hyssop thrives best in full sun conditions, receiving at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. It should be placed in a spot that is sunny and bright, as this will promote healthy growth and optimal oil concentration in its leaves. While hyssop can tolerate partial shade, its flowering and overall vitality may be reduced in less than full sun environments.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Hyssop prefers a temperature range between 60°F and 80°F during the day and can tolerate nighttime temperatures down to about 30°F but not sustained freezing conditions. While it can survive brief periods outside this range, prolonged exposure to temperatures below freezing or excessive heat above 90°F can damage the plant. Ideal growing conditions are found within this preferred temperature range, ensuring the plant is robust and healthy.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning hyssop is essential to encourage bushy growth and prevent the plant from becoming leggy. Trim the plant back in early spring, and after flowering, prune it lightly to shape the plant and to promote a second bloom. Regular pruning, about once or twice a year, also helps to rejuvenate older plants. The best time for major pruning is in the spring after the last frost has passed.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) thrives in well-draining soil with a pH range of 7.0 to 8.0; a mix of sandy or loamy soil amended with compost is ideal for its growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Hyssop does not require frequent repotting; it can be repotted every 2 to 3 years, or when it outgrows its current container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Hyssop prefers a dry to moderate humidity level and can be sensitive to excessive moisture, which makes it well-suited for arid or semi-arid conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide full sun, well-draining soil, and occasional watering.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun, well-drained soil; water moderately.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) begins its life cycle when seeds are sown in well-drained soil and germinate, usually taking between 14 to 21 days. Seedlings emerge and, after the risk of frost has passed, are transplanted or thinned out to prevent overcrowding. The plant grows to form a bushy herb with woody stems, reaching up to 60 centimeters in height, developing oblong leaves and clusters of small, blue, pink, or white flowers by mid-summer. Hyssop is a perennial, so after flowering, it can set seed if the flowers are not deadheaded, but it also prepares for dormancy by storing energy in its root system. Come autumn, the plant’s above-ground growth begins to die back as it enters dormancy for the winter months. In the spring, new growth emerges from the roots, and the cycle repeats, with the plant potentially living and reproducing for several years.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for Hyssopus officinalis, commonly known as hyssop, is by seed. To propagate hyssop, seeds are typically sown in the spring after the risk of frost has passed. Gardeners can scatter the tiny seeds onto a well-draining soil mix and lightly press them into the surface. Seeds need light to germinate, so they should not be covered with soil. Keeping the soil consistently moist, hyssop seeds will usually germinate within 14 to 21 days at a temperature of around 70°F (21°C). As the seedlings develop true leaves and reach a sufficient size, they can be thinned out or transplanted to their final growing locations, spacing them 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) apart to allow room for growth.