Grow verbena from seed

Learn About Verbenas

Botrytis: This fungus causes a grey mold on flowers, leaves, stems and buds. It thrives in cool wet weather conditions. Burpee Recommends: Remove affected plant parts, avoid watering at night and getting water on the plant when watering. Make sure plants have good air circulation. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Powdery Mildew: This fungus disease occurs on the top of the leaves in humid weather conditions. The leaves appear to have a whitish or greyish surface and may curl. Burpee Recommends: Avoid powdery mildew by providing good air circulation for the plants by good spacing and pruning. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.

Root Rots: A number of pathogens cause root rots of seedlings as well as mature roots. Burpee Recommends: Practice crop rotation and do not plant related crops in the same area for several years. Pull up and discard infected plants. Make sure your soil has excellent drainage. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.

Septoria Leaf Spot: This disease is most severe during rainy seasons in closely planted gardens. Circular spots with gray centers and dark margins appear on the lower older leaves. Fungus spores are produced and darken the center of the spots. There is a progressive loss of foliage. Burpee Recommends: Remove and destroy infected plant debris. Don’t handle or brush against plants when they are wet. Rotate plantings. Remove weeds growing nearby.

Common Pest and Cultural Problems

Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.

Cyclamen Mite: These mites damage plants by sucking juice from stems and leaves. They multiply rapidity in hot, dry weather. They can only be seen using a magnifying glass. Plants will look distorted and stunted, and may not bloom. Flowers will be distorted, streaked and blotched. Leaves can become cupped, curled, dwarfed and thickened. Burpee Recommends: Discard plants that are severely infested. Avoid working with infested plants. Keep plants watered in dry weather. For heavy infestations consult your Cooperative Extension Service for insecticide recommendations.

Gall Midges: Adults are tiny flies usually with long antennae resembling a fruit fly. Larvae are tiny yellow to orange maggots that can be found inside the galls feeding on the plant. Galls are distortions or lumps of plant tissue on plant leaves or stems. Burpee recommends: Removing infected leaves from the garden. If there are a lot of galls on the plant, remove and destroy the infected plant.

Leafminers: These insects bore just under the leaf surface causing irregular serpentine lines. The larvae are yellow cylindrical maggots and the adults are small black and yellow flies. They do not usually kill plants, but disfigure the foliage. Burpee Recommends: Remove affected foliage. Sanitation is important so be sure to remove all debris at the end of the season.

Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.

Verbena Seed – Verbena Hybrida Scarlet Ground Cover Seeds

Groundcover Specifications

Season: Annual

USDA Zones: 3 – 10

Height: 8 inches

Bloom Season: Spring through fall

Bloom Color: Scarlet

Environment: Full sun

Soil Type: Well-drained, pH 5.8 – 7.2

Deer Resistant: Yes

Planting Directions

Temperature: 75F

Average Germ Time: 7 – 28 days

Light Required: No

Depth: Cover seed lightly with peat moss

Sowing Rate: 2 – 3 seeds per plant

Moisture: Keep seeds slightly moist to dry

Plant Spacing: 12 – 18 inches

Note: For detailed directions for indoor and outdoor planting, please

Care & Maintenance: Verbena

Verbena (Verbena Hybrids Nana Compacta Scarlet) – Do you need a colorful, fast growing ground cover plant for your summer landscape? Look no further than this lovely, low-growing scarlet Verbena. These breathtaking scarlet Verbena flowers are easy to establish from Verbena seeds and they quickly form a dense mat with 2 1/2 – 3 inch bloom clusters that bloom non-stop from late spring until fall.

How To Grow Verbena From Seed: Soak Verbena ground cover seeds in tepid water 24 hours prior to sowing. Sow the seed in starter trays, using a sterilized peaty mix. Press Verbena seeds into the soil and lightly cover with peat moss. Verbena ground cover seeds need darkness for germination. Cover the starter tray with newspaper or black plastic with air holes cut into it and keep out of direct sun. Transplant Verbena seedlings into the garden 12 – 18 inches apart.

Want to do a mass Verbena planting? No problem! You can sow Verbena ground cover seeds directly outdoors in spring when frost season is completely over. Be patient, as these flower seeds can be slow to germinate, but just keep the seed moist with warm temperatures and before long you will have a beautiful ground cover. For the earliest blooms, start the Verbena seeds indoors for transplanting.

Shake ‘n Seed – We are now offering shaker bottles filled with our seed starting matrix: rich soil, gardening sand, water absorbing crystals, and starter fertilizer. This not only helps dispense your seed, but it gets it off to a great start! Simply remove lid from shaker bottle, add seed from packet, put back on lid, shake the bottle vigorously for 15 seconds, and then shake your way to beautiful new plants! Use Shake ‘n Seed over good quality soil, and then gently water to keep seed moist until it sprouts. Great for ground covers or mass planting flower seeds.

Verbena bonariensis is a tall, airy plant.

Clusters of small purple flowers floating on long, airy stems tempting passing butterflies to stop for a sip is just one reason to consider adding Verbena bonariensis, also called tall verbena or purpletop verbena, to your garden. This plant is just one of about 250 species in the genus Verbena, of which only about half a dozen are in cultivation. V. bonariensis is native to Brazil and Argentina (the specific name is after Buenos Aires). They were first grown as a garden ornamental in 1726 by Englishmen James & William Sherard, who got the seeds from a dried specimen sent back to England from Buenos Aires. This plant is perennial in zones 7 to11 and is grown as an annual in cooler climates. It is considered a weed in many mild climates, such as California, Texas, Australia and southern Africa, where it has naturalized.

The flowers are borne in clusters atop long stems.

Purpletop verbena is an upright, clump-forming plant with wiry, widely branched stems. It reaches a height of 3 to 6 feet and spreads 1 to 3 feet. Unlike many other tall herbaceous plants it is unlikely to tip over. The stiff stems and branches are square and rough, like sand paper. The deep green, lance-shaped serrated leaves form a mounded rosette at the base of the plant, with few on the stems. The flowers are borne in rounded clusters 2 to 3 inches across. The individual flowers are little purple or rosy lavender tubes, about ¼ inch across. It blooms from mid-summer until the first frost.

The flowers are highly attractive to butterflies and other insects and a good substitute for buddleia where that plant does not survive. The airy habit of this plant makes it a good choice for the front or middle of the border, despite being so tall, since you can see right through it. Since it is so thin, it is best planted in masses or columns, or else it will be overlooked. Even in large groups, however, they will not provide a background like other tall annuals or perennials will. They are perfect in a cottage garden mixed in with other plants. The flowers contrast effectively with yellow, orange and pink flowers. Interplant V. bonariensis and plants like purple basil or purple coneflower for an interesting monochromatic display. The cut flowers last a long time in flower arrangements. England’s Royal Horticultural Society Floral Committee awarded V. bonariensis an Award of Garden Merit (the Society’s symbol of excellence given to plants of outstanding garden value) “because of its attractive flowers and uncluttered habit.”

Butterflies and other insects love Verbena bonariensis flowers.

V. bonariensis is very easy to grow from seed – both indoors or from volunteers in the garden. Start seeds indoors 8 to 12 weeks before the average date of last frost. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of seeding mix, as they need darkness to germinate. Germination is slow and irregular, so be patient.

Verbena bonariensis can reseed prolifically.

Outdoors, don’t disturb the soil too much in spring if you want the volunteer seedlings. Seedlings take a while to germinate, especially in our colder climate (they may not appear until as late as June). Pinching the first few shoots of the young plants will encourage branching and create a more compact, shrub-like plant. I prefer to leave them in their natural, open form. Either place transplants or thin volunteers to about 2 feet apart.

If you did not deadhead flowers the previous year, you may end up with a carpet of volunteer seedlings which will require drastic thinning. If you don’t want any more verbena plants in that area, they can easily be pulled or hoed out; cultivating in early spring can also discourage germination.

Verbena bonariensis seedlings.

Volunteers can be transplanted; small plants tolerate the move better, but I have had success with plants of nearly blooming size. Try to leave as many roots intact in a soil mass when moving plants for better results. The plants will droop when their roots are disturbed, but they will recover once established. Be sure to keep transplanted volunteers well watered until they are re-established.

Plant V. bonariensis in full sun and well-drained soil. It is fairly drought tolerant so doesn’t require watering once established (unless we get no rain) and enjoys the heat. Although it will grow acceptably in poor soil, it will thrive in fertile soils with high organic matter. It has few insect or disease problems other than powdery mildew. The white spots on the leaves do not seem to have much impact on blooming, though.

– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin


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Verbena Seed Germination: How To Grow Verbena From Seed

Verbena seed germination times depend upon the variety, so don’t get discouraged. However, knowing how to grow verbena from seed will greatly improve the chances of sprouting. The seeds need well-draining soil in a good, sterile starting medium, light moisture and total darkness.

Overall, growing verbena from seed is easy and can save you money on your annuals.

When to Plant Verbena Seeds

Planning on the right time to sow seeds can make all the difference in the world between success and failure. If you plant too early, seedlings may die in overly wet or cold weather. If you plant too late, you may not get flowers before the growing season ends.

Verbena is cold tender and seedlings are even more prone to cold sensitivity. You may sow verbena seeds indoors 10 to 12 weeks before planting them out or wait until spring and plant them in a cold frame or raised bed. Just make sure there is no chance of frost. The actual month will vary, dependent upon your USDA zone.

Verbena seed germination can take as little as 20 days or up to a month or more and, in most cases, requires cold stratification in order to be successful. The seeds are variable, so be patient.

How to Grow Verbena from Seed

Use a well-draining, moist potting mix if starting seed indoors. Sow verbena seeds in compartmented flats. Place a few seeds in each compartment and thin them after germination. Verbena seed germination requires darkness. You can simply dust some soil over the seeds or cover the flat with black plastic.

In outdoor settings, wait until no freezes are expected and prepare a garden bed. Incorporate compost or other organic matter and rake the bed to remove any impediments, such as rocks or twigs. Sow seeds just as you would indoor plants.

Once germination takes place, remove black plastic if applicable. Wait until the first set of true leaves appears and then thin plants to 12 inches (30 cm.) or one plant per compartment.

Care of Verbena Seedlings

Harden off plants by giving them gradually longer exposure to outside conditions for a week. Once plants are used to the wind, light and other conditions, it is time to transplant them.

Transplant outside when temperatures have warmed and soil is workable. Space plants 12 inches (30 cm.) apart in full sun. Keep competitive weeds away from seedlings and keep the soil moderately moist.

Pinch plants back after a month to promote thicker, denser verbena. Deadhead regularly once plants begin to bloom to encourage more flowers. At the end of the season, save more seed to continue the easy beauty of verbena.

Types of Verbena Plants

Verbena image by CarlosNeto from Fotolia.com

The verbena is a vigorous, heavy bloomer that fills your garden with colorful flowers throughout the summer months. Verbena comes in a multitude of colors and heights that range from less than a foot to over 6 feet. Verbenas are rapid-growing plants that often spread outside of their boundaries in the garden or flower bed. They are tolerant of trimming, so prune them back to keep them under control and looking their best.

Clump Verbena

Known for it’s ability to spread, clump verbena (Verbena canadensis) blooms from in late spring and lasts until the fall. Clump verbena is a low-growing plant that reaches heights between 8 and 18 inches. Plant the clump variety of verbena in areas with full sun exposure and in soil that is well-drained. Mainly used as a ground cover, in flower beds and as an edging plant, clump verbena produces a red, white, purple or pink flower that attracts butterflies to your garden.

Moss Verbena

Considered ideal for use as groundcover on slopes and banks, moss verbena (verbena tenuisecta) thrives when planted in areas with good drainage and full sun exposure. Moss verbena is flat-growing, ranging from 6 to 12 inches in height and produces tiny clusters of purple, white and plum-colored flowers. Although moss verbena blooms profusely during the spring, flower production diminishes during the heat of the summer months. Flowering will increase again during the cooler fall weather.

Annual Verbena

The brightly colored pink, red, purple and blue flowers of the annual verbena (Verbena X hybrida) make it an attractive choice for rock gardens and window boxes. Annual verbena reaches heights of 12 inches, requires at least 6 hours of full sun each day and thrives when planted in fertile, well-drained soil. The annual verbena blooms abundantly during the spring but flowering slows during the warm summer months.

Brazilian Verbena

The blooming purple flowers of the Brazilian verbena (Verbena bonariensis) attract butterflies to your garden and flower bed. Brazilian verbena has a long bloom time, which starts in June and lasts until the first frost. One of the taller varieties of the verbena, the Brazilian verbena reaches heights of 4 to 6 feet. Brazilian verbena,often called Verbena-on-a-Stick, requires well-drained soil and full to partial sun exposure to thrive.

Sandpaper Verbena

The short-lived sandpaper verbena (Verbena rigida) is an herbaceous groundcover that is helpful in controlling erosion on banks and slopes.(see reference 5) Sandpaper verbena grows to be a foot tall, has a 4-foot spread and produces a bright purple flower during the summer and fall months. Plant sandpaper verbena in any type of soil that is well-drained and place gardens or flower beds that receive at least 6 hours of full sun exposure each day.

  • If sowing seeds in the fall, do so before the first frost and follow the same instructions. You can skip the task of watering if it’s a rainy spring with ample rainfall.

  • To achieve a showy display, make sure your soil contains plenty of organic matter. Tall verbena is not particular about soil pH, yet it flourishes best in the neutral range of 6.0 to 6.8.

  • Tall verbena shines when used in a mixed border and allowed to grow between other plants. However, when planted alone in large swaths, it makes a great centerpiece to a cottage garden, as well.

  • Tall verbena’s purple flowers pair best alongside perennial plants with yellow flowers or foliage. It mixes equally well with other cottage flowers, like cosmos.

  • The flowers of Verbena bonariensis may be tiny, but they contain enough pollen and nectar to attract hummingbirds and bees, making this species a great choice for pollinator gardens.

  • Perennial tall verbena can also be divided to make additional plants. The ideal time to propagate the plant from cuttings is in early spring, as well.

  • Once established, tall verbena is very drought resistant, but it grows best with an inch, or so, of water, a week and perennial plants will appreciate a dose of food early in the spring.

  • This low-maintenance plant does not require deadheading. However, you’ll have a showier display if the spent flowers are pruned throughout the season.

  • Annual verbena plants are rarely bothered by pests. But, perennial plants can become susceptible to aphids, slugs, snails, spider mites, and whiteflies. Also watch out for powdery mildew, leaf spots, and rust, especially in humid areas.

Read Next: How to Attract Bees and Other Pollinators to Your Garden

Verbena: planting and care, growing from seeds

Written by Joan Clark Feb 28th, 2019 Posted in Garden

Verbena (lat. Verbena) belongs to a genus in the family Verbenaceae and includes more than 200 species native to tropical and subtropical regions of America. In common parlance the verbena flower is called “iron grass”, and more poetic variants are “tears of Juno”, “grass of Hercules”, “Mercury’s blood” or “veins of Venus”. Christians believe that verbena is a sacred grass as according to the parable the first verbena flowers appeared at the spot where a drop of blood of the crucified Jesus fell to. Verbena has long been surrounded by an aura of mysticism: the Druids made a love potion of it, and the Celts hung its dry bunches in their houses for the protection of the family home, attraction of wealth and to deprive their enemies of hatred and malice. In addition, verbena along with garlic, silver bullets and aspen stakes were considered to be a powerful weapon against vampires. Verbena healing properties have long been known. Not only does it adore your garden by blooming from June until late autumn, but it is also widely used in folk medicine as a remedy for many illnesses.

Growing conditions of verbena flowers

Verbena is a rhizome plant. Depending on the species and growing conditions it can be both an annual and perennial plant or a semi-woody plant. Stems can be erect, creeping or prostrate, rough or smooth. The leaves are opposite, downy, sometimes alternate or verticillate, dark green, toothed, lobed or pinnatifid, and some species have entire leaves. Determinate paniculate or corymbose inflorescences, spikes or trusses are composed of 30-50 small flowers that are 0.6-1 inch in diameter. The range of colors is unusually wide: white, yellow, cream, dark red, salmon, dark blue, light blue, one-colored, as well as with a cream or white eye. The fruit is a nut consisting of four parts. Verbena flowers from June to November.

Verbena is grown not only in the open field, but in the containers. For example, trailing verbena is grown in hanging pots and it decorates terraces and balconies. In our climate zone verbena is cultivated as an annual plant as it does not tolerate cold winters.

Growing verbena from seeds

Verbena seeds stratification

Verbena is well propagated by seeds, but some of its species have the seeds covered with a very dense coating that complicates the process of seed germination. In such cases seed stratification is carried out, i.e. cold processing. This is done as follows: verbena seeds are scattered over a wet cloth, put with a wet cloth in an opaque plastic bag and kept in the vegetable box of the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Sowing of verbena seeds for seedlings

Stratified seeds can be sown directly into open ground, but we’ll tell you how to sow verbena for seedlings since a seedling method of seed propagation is much more reliable than a non-seedling method. In general, verbena seeds keep germinating capacity from three to five years, but not all species have such high qualities. For example, the percentage of germination of a hybrid verbena seed is not higher than 30, so while propagating verbena by seeds you should take into account all possible risks. Sowing of verbena seeds for seedlings is performed in March. They are sown in the boxes with a light humus soil that can be replaced with sand or perlite. The seeds are covered with a very thin layer of humus and kept under the glass at a temperature of 64-68 ºF with airing and removing condensation from the glass. Verbena seeds sprout gradually for 20-30 days, and then they are immediately transferred to a little cooler place.

Verbena seedlings

Care for sprouted verbena implies first of all maintaining of the correct water balance: seedlings are sprayed with water only when the soil gets dry. In a month, when seedlings get two pairs of leaves, they are pricked out into containers with cell sections or individual pots, and in two weeks, when they get used to a new place, they are fed with combined fertilizers. To promote bushier growth, the tip of the trailing varieties is pinched over the fifth-sixth leaf, but you should not do this with low-growing varieties since they are well branching on their own.

Planting of verbena

When to plant verbena

Verbena seedlings are planted in the ground only when there is a warm weather. A light short cooling up to -27 ºF will not harm verbena, but a strong and long-lasting drop in temperature can cause irremediable damage to young plants. Any place will be suitable for verbena, but it grows best on well-lit area, and it tolerates even a direct sunlight. The best soil for verbena is a fertile loam, but it grows well in other, even heavy soils if they are dug over and mixed with sand.

How to plant verbena

Verbena planting is carried out in the following way: the distance between the plants of compact varieties should be about 8 inches, the distance between the bushes of trailing varieties should be 10-12 inches. But before verbena planting, place a bit of drainage material (broken bricks or gravel) into each planting hole for water not to stagnate in the roots of plants. If the soil is dry, pour two glasses of water into each hole, wait until it gets lightly soaked, put verbena seedling with a clod of soil in this liquid pulp, fill the hole with the soil and tamp it around the bush. If you plant verbena in rainy weather or after a rain, there is no need to additionally moisten the soil.

Care for verbena

How to grow verbena

There are several simple rules of growing and care for verbena that must be strictly followed. The plant needs a regular watering during the periods of active growth and flowering. In the second half of summer watering should be reduced. Loosening is needed only in conditions of extreme heat after a heavy watering to ensure air circulation to the root system. If a group of bushes is planted, weeding is necessary only the first time after planting until the shrubs spread out. A single plant should be protected from weeds all the time. If you mulch the site after planting, neither loosening nor weeding will be needed.

Fertilizing of verbena

Growing of verbena also involves applying of both mineral and organic fertilizers, but organic fertilizers are used only once in a season not to overload the soil with nitrogen that makes the plant luxuriantly green, but, alas, constrains its bloom. Feeding of verbena with combined fertilizers is carried out 3-4 times per season.

Verbena flowering

If you properly feed verbena without overuse of nitrous component of a fertilizer, it will certainly decorate your garden with its beautiful flowers and delicate scent that is an added bonus to its enchanting beauty. And if you timely remove the faded flowers, the lovely holiday of verbena flowering will last almost until frost.

Pests and diseases of verbena

Verbena is rarely affected by diseases, and if properly cared, it will never happen at all. But if there is an excessive watering or summer is wet and hot, the plant can be affected by powdery mildew that is treated with sulfur or fungicides. Sometimes a plant can get attacked by aphids or mites that are controlled by insecticides. Excessive watering can cause “blackleg” disease, various rots and spots, so try to follow the rules of care not to deal with fungi and nematodes that are the reasons of diseases. Besides, not always this fight ends with the victory of a gardener.

Verbena after flowering

How and when to collect the verbena seeds

If verbena is grown as an annual plant in our climate zone, in autumn the plant is destroyed and the site is dug over. But if you want to collect seeds from your own plants, then you should do it when the biggest part of the capsule gets dried up and turns brown. A cut inflorescence with capsules is placed on a piece of paper or cloth. You should let it get dry by turning it over from time to time, so it will not grow mouldy, then collect seeds from the nuts, place them in a paper bag or a box and sign it. But you should note that collected seeds do not keep varietal characteristics of their parents, so it’s better to buy verbena seeds in the local nursery.

Verbena in winter

There is only one species of verbena that can be grown as a perennial in our climate zone. It is a hoary vervain (Verbena stricta). If you are lucky to own this rare plant, before the onset of winter, cut the stems of the plants at the level of the ground and cover the remains of the bush with fir twigs in the case of too frosty or snowless winter.

Species and varieties of verbena

There are many species of the verbena genus, but in culture not so many species are grown.

Hoary vervain (Verbena stricta)

is the only variety that is grown as a perennial plant in our climate zone. Its height is up to 60 inches. Sessile leaves are of grayish-green color, oval, with serrated edges, up to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. The dark violet-blue flowers are collected in inflorescence that are up to 16 inches long. Its flowering period is not so long as other varieties grown in the culture have.

Tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis)

grows as a perennial plant in the wild. The height of erect bushes is up to 47 inches. The main stem is clearly distinguished. Side shoots go from the base of the bush. The leaves are opposite, oblong, lanceolate, with serrated edge. Small flowers of amethyst shade are collected on the spike forming umbellate inflorescences. Flowering is long and abundant.

Rose verbena (Verbena canadensis)

is also a heat-loving perennial with thin stems 6-8 inches long, with cuspidate oval deeply lobed leaves. Lilac, purple, white or pink flowers form umbellate inflorescences. This prolific bloomer is propagated through self-seeding. The seeds remain viable for up to three years.

Tuberous vervain (Verbena rigida)

is characterized by ascending or creeping branched stems. Hard leaves are almost wedge-shaped with vivid veins and downy lower surface of blade. Mauve or purple flowers are up to 0.4 inch in diameter and collected at the ends of shoots in the complex inflorescences that are up to 1.4 inch in diameter. The seeds remain viable for up to 5 years!

Garden verbena (Verbena hybrida)

is the most common type of verbena with heavily branching, creeping or erect stems 8-20 inches tall. The leaves are elongated-triangular or oblong, pubescent with colorless bristle. The flowers are fragrant, regular, gathered in complex umbellate inflorescences. The blossom colors are white, dark violet, purple and other. Garden verbena has two varieties:

grandiflora, or mammoth mix (var. Mammuth) is 16-20 inches tall with creeping stems, ascending shoots, and larger flowers. The varieties are:

  • Cyclops is a bush 12-16 inches in height. Umbellate inflorescences are up to 3 inches in diameter and composed of a plurality (55) flowers that are dark blue with a white eye. Each flower is from 0.6 to 1 inch in diametre;
  • Etna is 16-18 inches tall. Dense inflorescences are up to 3 inches in diameter and composed of 45-55 flowers that are scarlet red with a large star-shaped cream eye;

low compact (var. nana compacta) – плотные кусты 20-30 см в высоту. Сорта:

  • Rubin is hemispherical bushes 8-10 inches in height. Dense inflorescences are up to 2.4 inches in diameter. Purple-red flowers are 0.6 to 1 inch in diametre;
  • Spectrum Red is bush 10-12 inches in height. Vivid dense inflorescences are up to 2.4 inches in diameter. Double dark scarlet flowers are up to 1 inch in diameter.

The most popular trailing varieties are:

  • Imagination has a thin branching stem that is up to 20 inches tall. The flowers are round, violet-purple. It is a wonderful variety of verbena for hanging baskets, balcony boxes, and it is often used as a ground cover plant;
  • Moon River is a new variety with stems up to 18 inches that are heavily covered with lavender buds. It is a perfect plant for containers or hanging baskets.

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Verbena bonariensis

Flower Seed

DAYS TO GERMINATION: 14-28 days at 60-86°F (16-30°C). Alternating temperatures between 60°F (16°C) at night and 86°F (30°C) during the day helps to break dormancy.
SOWING: Transplant (recommended) — Sow 8-12 weeks before last frost. Cover seed lightly with growing medium. Seed is slow to germinate and sensitive to excess moisture, so keep growing medium on the dry side until emergence. Place seed trays on a heat mat during the day and remove at night to ensure the proper germination temperature. Transplant to cell packs or larger containers after true leaves appear. Harden off and transplant outside after the last frost. Direct seed — Direct seed only in areas with long growing seasons. Sow seeds after the last frost, barely covering seeds.
LIGHT PREFERENCE: Sun.
SOIL REQUIREMENTS: Almost any soil.
PLANT SPACING: 18-24″.
HARDINESS ZONES: Zones 7-10.
HARVEST: Fresh: Harvest when the outer 2-4 layers of flowers are open.
USES: Fresh cut flower, borders, beds, containers, and mass plantings.
NOTES: May self-sow.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Verbena bonariensis
ALTERNATE NAMES: Purple-top verbena, tall verbena, South American vervain

Verbena is a must-have plant for every garden because of its tendency to bloom from spring to fall with very little maintenance. Although verbena is considered to be perennial in warm climates where frost is never a danger, it has to be grown as an annual in climates that have freezing temperatures.

Verbena plants grow in clumps six to 10 inches tall, making it ideal as a hanging basket plant. The colorful blooms can be red, white, pink, mauve, purple or apricot and provide pretty accents for rock gardens, window boxes or borders.

Planting Verbena

Verbena can be started from seeds, but it does take them a long time to germinate. Start indoors in late winter by placing two seeds in peat or fiber pots. Cover very lightly with soil. Water taking care not to make the soil too wet and be prepared to wait about a month for the seeds to show any signs of life. Once the plants have three or four leaves, they can be hardened for outdoor use.

Verbena is a common plant that grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones two through eight, so most garden centers will carry plants. Plant verbena in full sun in areas of the garden or yard that have good drainage. The plants, which should be spaced 10 to 12 inches apart, require eight to 10 hours of sunlight a day and they do not like soil that is on the dry side.

You can also take cuttings of verbena to start additional plants. Some folks dig up verbena plants in the fall and keep them indoors for the purpose of establishing growth for cuttings.

Caring for Verbena Plants

Verbena plants do not require a lot of attention. Once established, water the plants only when they dry out. Fertilize once in the spring of the year after they have been planted and established outdoors. Deadhead the faded blooms so that blooming continues long into the gardening season.

If you live in an area where verbena grows as a perennial, cut the plant back in the fall. If verbena is an annual in your area, remove the plants after they finish flowering in the fall.

Verbena Pests and Diseases

There are not many pests that impact the growth of verbena, but aphids, spider mites, thrips, slugs and snails can take their toll. A spray of soap diluted with water can be effective in the battle of the bugs. Slugs can be defeated by setting an aluminum pie plate filled with beer (use a cheap variety) out in heavily infested areas of your yard or garden. The slugs will be attracted to the beer and will die after taking their fill of the intoxicating beverage.

Diseases such as powdery mildew and leaf spot can affect the plants. There are natural and chemical products available to help control these problems. Ask for advice at your favorite garden center.

Want to learn more about growing verbena?

Here’s a great site with more information on growing verbena.

And, don’t miss this fact sheet on verbena.

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