Annual Overview: Verbena

verbena

 

If you are looking for a brilliant groundcover filler, verbena will not disappoint.
With its extremely long bloom season, verbena’s countless clusters of small blooms create color and texture in the landscape all season long. It thrives in heat, comes in a wide variety of colors, and is easy to maintain making verbena a top favorite in the low habit category.

 

 

Verbena at a Glance

Botanical Name: Verbena x hybrida
Common Name(s): Verbena
Height: to 12 inches
Soil Conditions: Ideal setting is rich, moist soil, but will do well in any type of soil
Sun: Full sun or light afternoon shade

 

Notes: Verbena cannot tolerate frost, which is why they are planted as annuals in most locations.  They can be planted as an annual in zones 8-10 where no frost or very light frost occurs.

Best Use: Beds, containers, edgings, hanging baskets, rock gardens, widow boxes

Starting Verbena from Seed

Because verbena is difficult to sow from seed, many gardeners find they have more success purchasing already established plants.  If you want to try your hand at growing from seed, plan on starting them 10-12 weeks prior to the last frost.

You will have better luck if you refrigerate the seeds for one full week prior to planting them.

Soak the seeds overnight in room temperature water.

Plant seeds in peat-moss cups or comparable sterilized peat mix.

Verbena seeds need to be germinated in the dark at 70°F.

When the seedlings sprout, they will require light and cooler temperatures.

When to Plant

After last threat of frost has passed.

Where to Plant

Verbena thrives in heat so plant in full sun or light shade.  Verbena will thrive best in rich, moist soil, but will tolerate nearly any soil as long as it is well-drained.  This plant can tolerate some drought.

Plant Spacing

Plant transplants twelve to eighteen inches apart to allow for good air circulation to discourage disease.

Care and Maintenance

Verbena require very little maintenance once they are planted.  Though verbena will tolerate heat and drought, they will thrive in rich, moist soil.

Avoid top watering late in the day to discourage disease.  Water the soil thoroughly.  Mulching around the plant will help to retain soil moisture.

To keep plants looking manicured, trim them back at least once during the season. This will also help to stimulate blooming.

You can fertilize verbena in the spring with a balanced fertilizer.  Be careful not to overfertilize.

Diseases

Leaf spot, powdery mildew, and root and crown rot.

Pests

Aphids, cottony cushion scale, cyclamen mite, foliage feeding caterpillars, gall midges, leafminers, spider mites, thrips, true bugs, and whiteflies.

Did You Know

Medieval legend asserts that to dream of verbena means that your wishes will be granted.  People actually bathed in verbena water in attempts to foresee the future and to make a wish come true.  Verbena water was also believed to ward off evil spirits.

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