Verbena canadensis snow flurry

Verbena: Everything You Need to Know About Planting and Care

How to plant verbena

Verbena are sun lovers and should be planted in full sun (that’s at least six hours of direct sunlight each day) in plant hardiness zones 5–9, though exact growing zone will depend on the variety. With less than full sun, verbena will struggle.

Verbena thrives in a variety of soil conditions and don’t require much water, especially once established, but you will want to make sure the soil drains well. Additionally, avoid planting your verbena too closely together in order to keep them healthy and precent the spread of mildew.

How to care for verbena

  • Verbena are fairly easy to care for and will thrive as long as they get plenty of sunlight and about an inch or so of water each week.
  • Mildew is likely the biggest issue you’ll encounter when planting and caring for verbena. You’ll know it’s present if you notice a white, powder-like residue on the plant. As mentioned above, one way to avoid the spread of mildew is to leave space between verbena when planting so they have room to air out and so that mildew isn’t able to easily spread from plant to plant. When planted in soil that doesn’t drain well, root rot can also be an issue.
  • Additionally, you’ll want to remove dead plants and debris from the garden or planter boxes as necessary, and remove dead flower heads to keep the plants healthy and encourage future blooms. If you happen to have an issue with insects, remember that spraying will likely have a negative impact on butterflies, which are attracted to this sprawling bloom, so non-chemical methods of pest control are best.

Groundcover Verbena Varieties – Can You Use Verbena For Groundcover

Verbena plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes. While some have an upright growing pattern, there are several that stay very short and spread quickly by creeping along the ground. These varieties are great for groundcover, and will fill in an empty space very fast with delicate, low foliage and bright flowers. Keep reading to learn more about growing creeping verbena plants and using verbena as groundcover.

How to Use Verbena for Groundcover

While some verbena varieties grow as bushes that can reach 4 to 5 feet (1.2-1.5 m.) in height, there are plenty of other varieties that stay low to the ground. Some are trailing plants that spread along the ground. They put out creeping stems that root themselves easily in the ground and establish new plants.

Others are just low growing, upright plants that top out at about

1 foot (30 cm.) high. These plants spread out via rhizomes underground that put up new shoots nearby. Both of these styles are very low growing and fast spreading and are great options for groundcover.

When opting to use these plants for ground coverage in the garden, plant them in triangular groups with about 12-inch (30 cm.) spacing between them. Of course, this will vary depending on the available garden space, so take this into consideration. Knowing the total square footage can help determine the amount of plants needed to fill the area, along with their spacing.

Popular Groundcover Verbena Varieties

Here are a few common groundcover verbena plants:

Trailing Verbena – Formerly called Verbena canadensis but now known as Glandularia canadensis, these creeping verbena plants make up a broad group that serves very well as groundcover. Some popular cultivars are “Summer Blaze,” “Snowflurry,” “Greystone Daphne,” and “Appleblossom.”

Rigid Verbena – Native to South America, these verbena plants spread quickly by underground rhizomes. They are very hardy and drought resistant. Some popular cultivars include “Polaris” and “Santos.”

Prairie Verbena – Reaching only 3 to 6 inches (7.5-15 cm.) in height, this plant produces vivid, deep purple flowers.

Peruvian Verbena – Under a foot tall, these plants produce pink to white flowers that bloom all summer long.

Goodings Verbena – These plants produce lots of lavender flowers in the spring. They need full sun and lots of water.

Sandpaper Verbena – Producing deep purple flowers in the spring, these plants self-sow and spread by seed very quickly and run the risk of becoming invasive.

Verbena

Verbena

Verbena is the ideal plant to cascade over retaining walls, containers, baskets, and window boxes. As long as its soil is well drained, verbena will reward gardeners with countless clusters blooms all season long. Verbena is also drought tolerant, making it a great choice for rock gardens and for planting in cracks between stones.

genus name
  • Verbena
light
  • Sun
plant type
  • Annual,
  • Perennial
height
  • 6 to 12 inches,
  • 1 to 3 feet
width
  • From 12 to 20 inches wide, depending on type
flower color
  • Blue,
  • Purple,
  • Red,
  • White,
  • Pink
foliage color
  • Blue/Green
season features
  • Fall Bloom,
  • Summer Bloom
problem solvers
  • Deer Resistant
special features
  • Good for Containers
zones
  • 7,
  • 8,
  • 9
propagation
  • Seed,
  • Stem Cuttings

Innovations

The more common verbenas are generally a hybrid of many different species to make the common varieties you see today. However, there is another commonly planted verbena, Verbena bonariensis. V. bonariensis or purpletop vervain, is a wonderfully versatile annual. Unlike the more common verbena, the purpletop vervain is very tall. These plants can get up to three to four feet tall. They make a great show in a garden setting, especially with other prairie type plants and grasses. The flowers of the purpletop vervain are much smaller than the more common verbena, but just as plentiful.

More common verbenas are generally a hybrid of many different species to make the common varieties you see today. Another commonly planted variety is Verbena bonariensis. Otherwise known as purpletop vervain, V. bonariensis is a tall, versatile annual. This species can grow up to 4 feet tall and put on a wonderful show in a garden setting, especially with other prairie-type plants and grasses. The flowers of the purpletop vervain are much smaller than the more common verbena, but just as plentiful. More common verbenas are generally a hybrid of many different species to make the common varieties you see today. Another commonly planted variety is Verbena bonariensis. Otherwise known as purpletop vervain, V. bonariensis is a tall, versatile annual. This species can grow up to 4 feet tall and put on a wonderful show in a garden setting, especially with other prairie-type plants and grasses. The flowers of the purpletop vervain are much smaller than the more common verbena, but just as plentiful. More common verbenas are generally a hybrid of many different species to make the common varieties you see today. Another commonly planted variety is Verbena bonariensis. Otherwise known as purpletop vervain, V. bonariensis is a tall, versatile annual. This species can grow up to 4 feet tall and put on a wonderful show in a garden setting, especially with other prairie-type plants and grasses. The flowers of the purpletop vervain are much smaller than the more common verbena, but just as plentiful.

Flowers of verbena are held in continuously blooming circles atop the tips of all of the stems. These bloom stalks just keep blooming all season long and continue to grow up, producing new buds all the time. This also eliminates the need for dead-heading, as they continue to bloom on top of wilted flowers. Petals on the blooms of verbena can be quite varied, with fringed edges, stripes, white eyes, and even streaks of color.

Annual verbena makes a great accent in containers and has a couple of options. Some varieties are more of a trailing habit and are great spilling out of containers or in large groupings as a groundcover. Other varieties are more upright and a good option for smaller spaces and smaller containers.

Verbena Care Must-Knows

As far as problems go, verbenas are pretty free of disease. The biggest concern is mildew. This shows up on the plants as a powdery white residue on the leaves, and eventually causes the plant to slowly decline in vigor. Generally it will not kill a plant, but will stress it some and slow it down. This is a common problem with the purpletop vervain, especially on lower growth. The best solution for powdery mildew is to plant the plants in a well circulated area, making sure the plants leaves dry out well after a rain or watering. If this has been a problem in the garden in the past, make sure to clean up any old plant debris like dead leaves or stems on the ground. Cleaning up old material is the best prevention and rotating plantings so the same susceptible plants aren’t in the same spot each year.

See more container flowers (like verbena) that are super hardy.

If you’re interesting in growing annual verbena in your gardens or containers, they can easily be started from seed. The tall purpletop vervain will even re-seed itself year after year, if left undisturbed.

More Varieties of Verbena

‘Aztec Red’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Aztec Red Velvet’ offers rich red flowers with a creamy center on spreading plant to 12 inches.

Aztec Red verbena (Verbena ‘Aztec Red Velvet’) offers rich red flowers with a creamy center on spreading plant to 12 inches. Aztec Red verbena (Verbena ‘Aztec Red Velvet’) offers rich red flowers with a creamy center on spreading plant to 12 inches.

‘Babylon White’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Babylon White’ bears pure white flowers on a trailing plant. It’s more disease resistant than many other verbenas.

‘Fuego Dark Violet’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Fuego Dark Violet’ is a vigorous selection with large clusters of rich violet-purple flowers and excellent heat tolerance.

‘Fuego Pink’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Fuego Pink’ offers rich pink flowers on a vigorous spreading plant.

‘Fuego Red’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Fuego Pink’ is a fast-growing variety that shows off big clusters of brilliant red flowers.

‘Imagination’ Verbena

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Verbena tenuisecta ‘Imagination’ is a popular deep violet-purple variety that grows 8-12 inches tall and spreads beautifully in hanging baskets.

‘Lanai Lavender Star’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Lanai Lavender Star’ bears clusters of lavender-purple flowers striped in white. It grows 10 inches tall and 24 inches wide.

‘Lascar Burgundy’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Lascar Burgundy’ is a mounding plant with medium-size flowers and rich burgundy-red flowers.

‘Peaches and Cream’ Verbena

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Verbena x hybrida ‘Peaches and Cream’ is a showstopper with peach-and-creamy-white blooms. Plants are 8-10 inches tall and spread 12 inches.

‘Quartz Purple’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Quartz Purple’ bears rich purple flowers on an upright, compact plant to 8 inches.

‘Quartz Silver’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Quartz Silver’ is a compact, upright variety with white flowers flushed with silvery-lavender. It grows 8 inches tall and wide.

‘Temari Patio Red’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Temari Patio Red’ offers bright red flowers on mounding plants to 14 inches tall.

‘Summer Snow’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Summer Snow’ is a trailing selection to 10 inches with pure white blooms.

‘Superbena Pink Parfait’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Superbena Pink Parfait’ shows off wonderful soft-pink flowers over fuzzy, disease-resistant foliage. It grows 12 inches tall and 48 inches across.

‘Superbena Large Lilac Blue’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Superbena Large Lilac Blue’ is a vigorous selection with good disease resistance that bears large lilac-blue flowers. It grows 12 inches tall and can spread 4 feet across as a groundcover. It will trail over the sides of a container or hanging basket.

‘Superbena Burgundy’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Superbena Burgundy’ is a vigorous selection that bears rich burgundy flowers from spring to fall. It grows 12 inches tall and can spread 4 feet across as a groundcover. It will trail over the sides of a container or hanging basket.

‘Tropical Breeze Red and White’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Tropical Breeze Red and White’ offers good resistance to powdery mildew and shows off white flowers liberally streaked in red.

‘Tukana Scarlet Star’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Tukana Scarlet Star’ features large bright red flowers with a sparkling white eye. It’s heat tolerant and flowers all summer, growing 8 inches tall and 24 inches wide.

‘Temari Bright Pink’ Verbena

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Verbena ‘Temari Bright Pink’ is a tailing selection with soft pink flowers that bear tiny white eyes. It trails to 1 foot.

Verbena bonariensis

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Verbena bonariensis is a tall, purple blooming prairie type verbena that will happily re-seed in the garden.

Plant Verbena With:

The pale and dark blues of larkspur are some of the prettiest you’ll find in the garden. And they come with little effort. Plant larkspur once and allow the flower heads to ripen, scattering their seed, and you’ll be assured of a steady supply of larkspur in your garden for decades. All you’ll need to do is pull out the ones you don’t want!Larkspur is basically an annual version of delphinium, an all-time favorite perennial. Larkspur produces lovely spikes of blue, purple, pink, or white flowers in spring and summer. They look best clustered in small patches.Like many cool-season annuals, it’s a good winter-blooming plant for the Deep South. Larkspur is so easy to grow that it often self seeds in the garden, coming back year after year. Plant larkspur from seed directly in the garden in early spring. Larkspur doesn’t like to be transplanted. It prefers rich, well-drained soil and ample water.When hot weather strikes and larkspur starts to brown and fade, pull out plants, but be sure to leave a few to brown and reseed.

Petunias are failproof favorites for gardeners everywhere. They are vigorous growers and prolific bloomers from midspring through late fall. Color choices are nearly limitless, with some sporting beautiful veining and intriguing colors. Many varieties are sweetly fragrant (sniff blooms in the garden center to be sure.) Some also tout themselves as “weatherproof,” which means that the flowers don’t close up when water is splashed on them.Wave petunias have made this plant even more popular. Reaching up to 4 feet long, it’s great as a groundcover or when cascading from window boxes and pots. All petunias do best and grow more bushy and full if you pinch or cut them back by one- to two-thirds in midsummer.Shown above: Merlin Blue Morn petunia

Few gardens should be without the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with beautiful color variations on each flower. Plus, snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. Gather a dozen or more in a small vase and you’ll have one of the prettiest bouquets around.Snapdragons are especially useful because they’re a cool-season annual, coming into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are just being planted. They’re also great for fall color.Plant snapdragon in early spring, a few weeks before your region’s last frost date. Deadhead regularly for best bloom and fertilize regularly. Snapdragons often self-seed in the landscape if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year, though the colors from hybrid plants will often will be muddy looking. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch.Shown above: ‘Rocket Red’ snapdragon

Verbena Seeds – Moss Verbena Ground Cover Seed

Groundcover Specifications

Season: Annual

USDA Zones: 3 – 10

Height: 6 – 12 inches

Width: 24 inches

Bloom Season: Summer and fall

Bloom Color: Violet

Environment: Full sun

Soil Type: Well-drained, pH 5.8 – 7.2

Deer Resistant: Yes

Planting Directions

Temperature: 65 – 70F

Average Germ Time: 20 – 40 days

Light Required: No

Depth: 1/16 inch

Sowing Rate: 6 pounds per acre

Moisture: Keep seeds moist until germination

Plant Spacing: 24 inches

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

Care & Maintenance: Verbena

Moss Verbena (Verbena Tenuisecta) – Is there a place in your garden for these stunning ground cover plants? You will want Moss Verbena because it blooms all summer long with violet or pink flowers on spreading plants, and the foliage is fern-like and attractive. Moss Verbena comes from South America, and it performs well in hot, sunny locations with sandy and infertile soils. It is very easy to establish from Verbena seeds, and it provides nectar for honeybees and butterflies.

Moss Verbena ground cover plants will grow as perennial in frost-free zones. For colder climates, grow this Verbena as an annual. It adds great color to meadows, use it in sunny flower borders, and it also works well in containers or baskets.

It is recommended to sow Moss Verbena seeds directly outdoors in the late fall. The cold temperatures actually help to break the dormancy of the seed, so when spring temperatures warm, the Verbena seeds are ready to germinate. Broadcast the Moss Verbena ground cover seeds in prepared soil that is weed free. Lightly rake the seed under the soil.

Approximately 1/8 pound of Moss Verbena ground cover seed covers 2000 square feet or 6 pounds per acre.

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