Verbena flowers are perennial to biennial plants, whose hardiness varies greatly depending on their geographical origin. On the one hand, the very famous light-wearing verbena of Buenos Aires grows in the stony and poor corners of the garden. On the other hand, the rigid verbena covers the ground with flowers for many months. The verbena family is rich and very diverse. Other species, such as the officinal verbena is known for its aromatic and officinal virtues. It can be consumed in herbal tea, and the benefits are numerous.
A verbena is a diverse group of plants that are cultivated either for their fragrant and healing properties or their colorful, highly decorative flowering. Also, garden verbena is a compact plant with very bright flowers. They are perfect in a planter or a pot.
Verbenas are relatively easy to grow. They thrive in sunny, ordinary, draining, and fresh soil. Bonariensis and hastata verbenas are best suited for outdoor planting, while garden verbenas and lemongrass verbenas are very suitable for pot cultivation. Hybrid verbena can benefit from some watering during the summer. As for lemongrass, we suggest that you prune it severely after winter.
As you read this, discover the following:
* Main Features
* Where to Plant the Verbenas?
* Successful Tips for Growing Verbanas
* Care and Maintenance
* Pests and Diseases
Verbenas can be perennial or annual, herbaceous or semi-woody. Most species are native to America. In the wild, verbenas grow mostly in open, bright environments, such as meadows, wasteland, and roadsides, which is why they like to be planted in the sun.
Verbena belongs to the verbenaceae family. It consists of more than 1,000 species. In addition to verbena, there are a few other ornamental plants, including lantana and duranta repens. Verbena, in the botanical sense, includes about 100 species. However, some other plants that do not belong to the verbena genus are also called verbenas.
Also, verbena flowers are fairly tall perennials, growing to between 1.50 m and 2 m in height. They have long, erect, branched stems, which give the plant a light, airy appearance, allowing the eye to pass through them. These verbenas bring volume and verticality to flowerbeds. Hybrid verbenas are much lower, not exceeding 50 cm in height. They are compact and bushy plants, but they can also take on a relatively full shape. Some of them have a drooping habit, which makes them very decorative.
Verbena flowers consist of five petals. They are fused into a tube. Inside the corolla tube are inserted four stamens (male parts, carrying the pollen), as well as the pistil (female part, collecting the pollen). The verbena flowers are slightly irregular, bilaterally symmetrical. They are placed at the end of the stems in a final position.
The flowers of verbena are generally mauve, but those of hybrids are white, red, pink, purple, blue. The colors of the hybrid verbenas are rather vivid, bright; whereas those of the buenos aires and hastata verbenas are much softer.
The perennial verbenas, such as verbena bonariensis, and verbena hastata, offer a delicate mauve-colored blossom, as does verbena officinalis. These plants fit perfectly in naturalistic gardens. Their flowers are small, no more than 5-6 mm in diameter.
In another genus, much more colorful, annual verbenas are impressive in their flowering. They can take on a wide range of colors: pink, red, white, purple, blue, even orange. Some hybrid verbenas also have bicolored flowers: for example, verbena ‘coral star’ has pink flowers with white stripes, and ‘lilac eye’ has blue flowers with white in the center. Lemon verbena offers in summer a delicate white bloom made up of small flowers.
The verbenas have green leaves, simple, undivided, but toothed on the outside of the blade. The leaves are opposite, placed two by two, facing each other. The petals of hybrid verbenas are quite attractive.
Where to Plant the Verbenas?
Verbenas like to grow in full sun. They must benefit from at least six hours of sunshine per day to offer an abundant flowering or very aromatic foliage. Hybrid verbenas appreciate rich and fertile soils. It is preferable to give them a little well-decomposed compost or fertilizer. They also like ground that remains relatively cool in the summer.
Verbena bonariensis grows well in draining, even dry and stony soils, and tolerates relatively poor soils. It does not like dense substrates, which retain moisture in winter. Lemon verbena needs draining, rather poor soil. Verbena bonariensis and hastata are excellent plants for naturalistic gardens or perennial beds, while hybrid verbenas are best planted in window boxes, pots, hanging baskets, or borders. As for lemongrass and Verbena officinalis, they can be integrated into the vegetable garden or in a square of aromatic and medicinal plants. If you grow lemon verbena, unless you live in a region with a very mild climate, we recommend that you plant it in a pot instead. This way, you can bring it in in winter to protect it from the cold.
Successful Tips for Growing Verbanas
The verbenas are planted in the spring, as soon as there is no more risk of frost. We suggest that you keep a distance of about 30 cm between the hybrid verbena plants, and at least 40-50 cm for the other verbena plants.
In the open ground:
Firs, start by placing the root ball in a basin filled with water to allow it to moisten. This can facilitate later watering and improve the plant’s recovery. Second, dig a planting hole. It should be about three times the size of the root ball. If you are growing hybrid verbenas, add some well-decomposed compost. If your soil is heavy and tends to retain water, bring draining elements: gravel, coarse sand. Plant your vervain, replace the ground all around, and compact with the flat of your hand and water generously. Remember to water regularly in the weeks following planting.
For a potted plant:
Hybrid verbenas adapt well to pot cultivation. Similarly, lemon verbena is not very hardy, can be planted in a pot, and returned under cover in winter.
Take a pot or planter and place a layer of drainage at the bottom (this can be gravel, clay balls, or other coarse material). Then plant potting soil. For hybrid verbena, you can add some slow-release fertilizer to the substrate.
Care and Maintenance
Verbena tolerates drought quite well and does not require maintenance. It is ideal in natural style gardens where little intervention is needed.
Hybrid verbenas require a little more maintenance. They can appreciate compost inputs. If you grow them in pots or planters, you can add some liquid fertilizer, or use slow-release fertilizers. It is also best to water them during the summer. Make sure that the substrate does not dry out too much. Be careful, especially if you grow it in a pot, as the substrate dries out more quickly than in the ground. When watering, direct the jet of water towards the base of the plant, avoiding getting the foliage wet, to limit the appearance of diseases.
Regular watering in the summer ensures a more extended flowering period. Do not hesitate to place mulch to keep the soil relatively fresh. We advise you to remove the flowers of hybrid verbenas when they have wilted, as this relieves the plant and encourages it to produce new flowers.
For verbena bonariensis, leave them in place to allow the plant to resow spontaneously and naturalize in your garden! Hybrid verbenas are usually grown as annuals. You can renew your planters every spring.
Pests and Diseases
Most verbenas are susceptible to powdery mildew. This disease is caused by tiny fungi and can be recognized by the appearance of a white felt on the foliage. Treat with sulfur or horsetail decoction. Hybrid verbena can also be affected by late blight, another fungal disease. Against these fungal diseases, it is best to avoid excess moisture, avoid planting too densely to allow air circulation. To limit the progression of the disease, we advise you to cut and burn the affected parts, then use a fungicide (baking soda, sulfur, bordeaux mixture).
Concerning the parasites, slugs sometimes nibble verbenas. You can put sawdust or sand around your plants to prevent them from accessing them, or, if this is not enough, use slug pellets (Ferramol). Also, aphids can attack verbena. In this case, treat by spraying the foliage with black soap diluted in water.
On the whole, ornamental verbenas offer very long flowering periods, from early summer to frosts. Lemon verbena is a medicinal and aromatic plant, which can be consumed as an herbal tea. Also, hybrid varieties offer very bright blooms and are ideal for window boxes. As an example, the Buenos Aires Verbena fits perfectly in naturalist flowerbeds. Additionally, verbenas are easy to grow. All you have to do is to follow our steps for thriving planting. They flourish in full sunlight, in a fertile, fresh, and draining substrate.