Verbena Bonariensis – Plant of the Week (2nd August)

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July and August is when the verbena bonariensis comes into its own. It’s full of bees and butterflies at this time of year, filling their boots with its nectar. It’s a lovely plant to add movement and height to a garden. It gently bobs in the breeze, and can grow to about 2 metres if it likes its position. Because of it’s height, you might think it’s best suited to the back of a border, but because it’s quite see through, it looks great nearer the front of the border. It’s often paired with grasses which also sway in the breeze.

Verbena is classed as a perennial, as well as producing lots of seed and sending it around your garden. This makes it a good investment, as one plant can quickly turn into many if you either let it self seed, or collect the seed for you to sow yourself later.

Image by Manfred Antranias Zimmer from Pixabay

Due to it’s lilac/purple colour, it looks good as part of a pastel planting scheme and a bright jewel planting scheme. I love to pair it with bright oranges for a bit of colour clash.

Other Names for Verbena Bonariensis

It’s commonly known as a “vervain”, either “purpletop vervain”, “Argentinean vervain” or “tall vervain”. The word “verbena” is derived from Latin, meaning “sacred bough”, when stems of verbena were carried by priests and used in wreaths for druidic rituals.

Image by Alexandra Schneeberger from Pixabay

Verbena Bonariensis Likes

Verbena flowers best positioned in full sun. I’ve tried it in shadier areas of the garden and it grows, but the show is underwhelming. It likes moist but free draining soil.

Verbena Bonariensis Dislikes

It can succumb to the cold, so if you live in a cold area it’s a good idea to mulch in autumn to help protect the root system.

Special Care

Verbena will respond well to a good cut in spring, quickly sending out new growth which will produce lots of flowers in summer. I like to keep it overwinter as the stems looks quite good and provide a bit of architecture to the garden in winter.

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