Verbena Growing And Care Guide

Consider growing the Verbena if you are looking for long-lasting flowers that will blossom during the harshest hours of summer heat. When placed in the brightest and probably driest section of the garden, Verbena plants, whether perennial or annual varieties, guarantee summer blossoms. Perennial Verbena will put on a stronger summer show if your area has high summer humidity.

What is Verbena?

Well over 250 species of annual and perennial plants make up the Verbena genus, but only fairly expert gardeners or vintage plant aficionados grow the pure species. The majority of Verbenas that are frequently used as bedding crops or low runners in pots are named cultivars that were created through hybridizing several Verbena species. In zones 8 to 11, these hybridized Verbenas may function as hardy perennials, but in all zones, they are often grown as annuals. They could have dark green, slender leaves with serrated edges that trail or be full, flowering bedding plants.

Here are some brief facts about the popular aesthetic plant:

  • Latin name: Verbena spp.
  • Other names: Verbena, annual verbena
  • Native to: Europe
  • Invasiveness: No
  • Tenderness: Herbaceous perennial
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Water: Average
  • Soil: Well-drained
  • Hardiness zone: 8–11 
  • When to plant: Early Spring
  • Spacing: 12 inches
  • Plant height: 9–12 in
  • Bloom period: Spring, summer, fall
  • Time to maturity: 3 Months
  • Container friendly: Yes
  • Fertilizer: Balanced
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic
  • Drought tolerant: Yes
  • Deer resistant: No
  • Pest resistant: Yes

How to grow Verbena

This plant needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, but eight to ten hours is much preferable. The mother species of many of these crosses are indigenous to dry prairies or Mediterranean regions and therefore have similar water requirements. As they grow, keep plants uniformly watered. Once fully grown, these plants require an average amount of water (1⁄2 inch per week), but they may survive brief droughts. Botrytis blight will spread through soggy plants, but spider mites may be drawn to plants under drought stress.

When grown as annuals, hybridized Verbenas perform well in almost any climate, though they may suffer during the hottest part of the summer. Most crosses are hardy in regions 8 to 11, however, others are only in zones 7 when cultivated as short-lived garden perennials. Although Verbenas do not require much food, plants do benefit from a monthly dose of mixed, slow-release flower fertilizer to help them maintain the bloom display, which can continue from spring until winter. Follow the recommendations on the product package for fertilizer usage. Use a water-based fertilizer all during the growing season if grown in containers. These plants prefer somewhat dry soil with a pH range between acidic and neutral (5.8 to 7.2). Apart from needing well-draining soil, Verbena has a few requirements. To lighten dense soils, add multiple shovelfuls of manure or leaf mold. Heavy clay can cause root rot.

Growing Verbena in containers

Although Verbena planted in pots need a little more attention, they are still fairly simple to look after. Choose a large container for your Verbena because it may do a great job of filling in a gap, especially if you put other species in the same pot. Since Verbenas always want to dry out in between waterings, drainage holes are required. Overwatering can be avoided and the plant can continue to bloom and be healthy by letting extra water drain through the pot.

Verbena can thrive in virtually any type of pot, whether it be made of plastic, terracotta, porcelain, or anything else.

When to start Verbena seeds

Verbena hybrids are often cultivated indoors using seeds in the late winter and put outdoors as potted nursery shrubs in the spring. They are moderately quick-growing plants that can be grown inside in the winter and bloom by the middle of the summer.

When to plant Verbena

In the spring, plant Verbena. Potted plants need only a few weeks to reach their maximum growth. From spring to fall, they create profusions of vibrant flower clusters that bloom continually. To guarantee flowers by early summer, they must be started indoors twelve to fourteen weeks before your typical last frost date.

How to collect Verbena seeds

The majority of Verbenas are hybrids, thus you can not “grow true” Verbenas from the seeds you gather from garden plants. Instead, you should use commercial seeds that you buy that were produced in a carefully monitored greenhouse. 

Wildlife attracted by Verbena

Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, and other pollinators are known to be drawn to Verbena bonariensis. It has flowers with lots of nectar and pollen as well as bird seed.

Common problems

The main issue is mildew. This finally results in the plant’s vitality gradually declining and appearing on the plants as a dusty white deposit on the leaves. A plant will typically not die from it, but it will become stressed and grow more slowly. With the purple-top vervain, particularly on lower growth, this is a regular issue. Planting plants in an area with good air circulation and ensuring that the leaves of the plants completely dry out after rain or irrigation is the best way to prevent powdery mildew. If this has previously been an issue in the garden, be careful to remove any old plant waste from the ground, such as dead leaves or stems. The best prevention is clearing up old debris and rotating planting locations so that the same vulnerable plants are not in the same place every year.

What does Verbena smell like?

Beginning with a crisp, lemon-like aroma, Verbena gradually takes on a pleasant, fruity scent. It also smells green and citronella-like. Since the scent is fresher and lighter than pure lemon, it is perfect for home fragrance items.

How To Deadhead Verbena

To encourage fresh blooms and maintain the plants’ full and aesthetically pleasing, shear back Verbena flowers once or twice throughout the growing season. Most of the time, deadheading spent blooms is not necessary.

How to care for Verbena in pots

Verbenas require soil that drains well and full sun. They strongly dislike crowded areas and wet ground. But as long as their ideal circumstances are met, they require little more attention than timely watering. The variety will determine the precise spacing needed to ensure adequate air circulation for the plants.

During the growing season, pruning the plants back a few times will encourage fresh flowers and lengthen the flowering season.

How to propagate Verbena

Cutting off stem sections and re-rooting them is the classic vegetative method for propagating hybrid garden Verbenas. This strategy has been tried and tested and is effective for many herbaceous species. Taking stem cuttings of Verbenas in the fall and rooting them indoors before potting them up to get ready for springtime outdoor transplanting can be an excellent approach to keep perennials alive through the winter.

Mayukh Saha
Freelance Writer
Mayukh is a Content Marketer and Social Media Manager with over 5 years of experience in the industry. Mayukh believes in the power of content; how it can positively impact lives, scale businesses and touch people. In his spare time Mayukh likes to read about latest tech trends and loves to travel in the nature. You can reach him at [email protected].