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A clump of verbena with purple and white flowers
Pretty verbena is an eye-catching annual that comes in a rainbow of colours, and will bring bees and butterflies to your garden.

What you need to know about verbena

Name: verbena, vervain, annual verbena, Verbena hortensis.

Foliage: bluish-green foliage.

Height: 30–60cm, depending on variety.

Climate: all areas; protect from frost.

Soil: moderately fertile, moist, well-drained.

Position: full sun.

Flowering: white, pink, red, purple and blue clusters. 

Feeding: slow-release fertiliser in spring.

Watering: regular watering while flowering.

Appearance and characteristics of verbena

These lively and colourful annual plants have small bright green to bluish-green leaves. Clusters of small flowers in dazzling shades of white, pink, red, purple and blue appear over a long period during the hottest months. Verbena produces flower stalks that continue to grow up, producing more buds from the centre. The result is a continuously blooming circle of flowers. 

There are many varieties, including: Verbena “Homestead Purple”, a hardy, trailing ground cover with dazzling, rich purple flowerheads; Dwarf Verbena, a sensational ground cover with fragrant bright blooms over many months; Verbena “Peaches and Cream” with pink, peach and white flowers. New varieties are constantly being developed and added to the range.

 A purple and white verbena flower

Uses for verbena

The hardy verbena is great mass-planted as a ground cover or border plant in a sunny garden. It also looks striking in a pot or a hanging basket. Some varieties have a trailing habit, while others are more upright. Verbena is a fantastic plant for attracting beneficial insects to your garden. Butterflies love it! There’s sure to be a variety of this hardy little plant that suits your garden. 

How to plant and grow verbena

  1. Choose a location in full sun.
  2. Plant your verbena plant in moist, well-draining soil, or in a pot or hanging basket with good potting mix and water-holding crystals. 
  3. Remove spent blooms to encourage longer flowering.

Growing verbena from seed

Annual verbenas are generally propagated from seed in trays filled with a good-quality seed-raising mix. You’ll find a great range of verbena seeds in store.

Caring for verbena

Although verbena is tough and drought-resistant, a regular deep watering once a week in summer will improve flowering. Take care not to wet the foliage. Using a good-quality, controlled-release fertiliser in spring and again after trimming will help keep your plant strong and healthy, producing plenty of colourful flowers. 

Diseases and pests affecting verbena

Powdery mildew is the most common disease affecting this otherwise hardy little plant. Often this is caused by overcrowding, overhead watering and humidity. Treat it with an organic fungicide and be sure to clean up any dead leaves or stems around the plant to help prevent reinfection. 

Watch out for snails and slugs, particularly after rain. Snail traps are a great safe solution, or if you’re a coffee drinker, save your coffee grounds and sprinkle them around the plant as a barrier to keep them from feasting on your precious plants.

If you like this then try

Petunias: these versatile plants are perfect for mixed container plantings, baskets, pots or garden beds.

Sweet alyssum: a heat- and drought-resistant plant perfect for borders, plots or hanging baskets.

Gerbera: vibrant daisy-like flowers, perfect for growing in pots or in the garden. 

Start growing today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing!

 

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