How to Grow Verbena

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Since Victorian times, gardeners have appreciated this annual (it grows just one year), with its 2- to 3-inch domed flowers and lance-shaped, deep-green leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost Makers
  • Fertilizers
  • Garden Hoses
  • Garden Spades
  • Garden Trowels
  • Verbena Seedlings
  • Buy healthy, green plants with no signs of wilting or disease. Plants should be stocky, with plenty of leaves. It's actually a plus if they don't have any flowers on them - they'll divert their early energy into root development rather than flowering.

  • Choose a site in full sun, though in warmer climates verbena appreciates some afternoon shade as well. The soil should be fairly fertile but also very well drained. Verbena thrives in rock gardens and between cracks of pavers or bricks.

  • Plant in spring in USDA zones 2 to 8. In zones 9 to 11, verbena often can be grown as a perennial (returns year after year) and in these areas can be planted in either spring or fall.

  • Water only occasionally. Verbena likes its soil on the dry side.

  • Trim or shear faded flowers to promote longer blooming.

  • Fertilize every four to six weeks, or work in a slow-release fertilizer (or plenty of compost) at planting time.

  • Tear out and discard plants in fall, after frost fells them. In areas where verbena is a perennial, cut back in late fall when plants become ragged.

Tips & Warnings

  • Growing 6 to 12 inches tall and up to twice as wide, verbena can be used as a ground cover or in rock gardens, containers, and even in cracks between pavers or in rock walls.
  • Verbena is an excellent container plant, since it tolerates dry conditions. Try it in a hanging basket.
  • Annual verbena, the flower (Verbena x hybrida), shouldn't be confused with lemon verbena, the herb (Aloysia triphylla). Lemon verbena is grown for its highly fragrant leaves and produces barely noticeable flowers.

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