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Verbena Plant Care Guide and Varieties

Verbena x hybrida

Verbena is one of those garden essentials that bloom from spring to fall with very little fuss. In frost-free climates it is grown as a perennial, but most of us will have to grow it as an annual. Plants grow in clumps that reach a height of six to ten inches. Flowers can be mauve, purple, white, pink, apricot or red. Verbena is a popular hanging basket plant, and it also looks good in rock gardens or as an edging, and in window boxes. You’ll find them in your local garden center in little pots and big hanging baskets, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money on verbena because they are easy to grow from seeds.

These charming little plants are relatively carefree. In fact, the main cause of problems with verbena is over-pampering, especially overfeeding and over watering. There are just three things you will need to do to keep your plants healthy and blooming all season.

1. Deadheading
Deadheading is picking off the faded blooms. If you don’t deadhead your verbena, it will quit blooming. This doesn’t have to be a tedious task. Just clip off the top 1/4 of the stems that hold the faded flowers once the blooms are spent. If you forget, clipping out the tops of the stems will encourage your plant to rebloom in 15-20 days.

2. Fertilizing
This is easy! Verbena needs to be fertilized only once a year – in spring when the plants are about 4” tall. Use a complete fertilizer, and don’t fertilize verbena plants when you first set them out in the garden. Wait until they are established and growing.

3. Watering
When you first plant verbena, you should water regularly until the plants are happy and well established. Thereafter, water them only when very dry.

Starting from seeds
Verbena is easy to start from seeds, but the seeds might take as long as a month to germinate, so don’t give up on them too soon. Start the seeds indoors in late winter or early spring in individual peat or fiber pots. Place two seeds in each pot, and barely cover them with potting soil. Once they have 3-4 leaves per plant, clip out the weakest plant from each pot.

Harden off your plants by moving them outdoors for a few hours each day before planting them in the flowerbed. For more information about hardening off your transplants, see Bracing Up: Hardening Off Transplants. Once your seedlings are planted out and growing well, pinch out the center shoot in each plant for bushier growth.

Plant verbena in the sunniest, best drained part of your garden. The plants will need 8-10 hours of sun each day, and should never sit long in soggy soil. Space plants 10-12 inches apart.

Potential Problems
Verbena needs 8-10 hours of direct sunlight every day and a well-drained soil. Plants that are kept too moist and don’t get enough sun are susceptible to powdery mildew and other diseases. Plant verbena in the sunniest location in your garden to prevent this problem.

Spider mites and thrips might become a problem if your plants aren’t kept healthy. Use Soap-Shield to control these insects.

Saving plants for next year
You can save your favorite verbena plants by digging them up and bringing them inside before cold weather sets in. Grow your plants in hanging baskets or pots over winter, and in spring you can take cuttings for the garden.

  • Type
  • Propagation
    seeds, cuttings
  • Light
    full sun
  • Flower Color
    shades of red, pink and purple
  • Bloom Time
    spring through early autumn
  • Height
    6-10 inches
  • Width
    12 inches
  • Soil Requirements
    well drained
  • Zones
  • Uses
    edging, rock gardens, pots, hanging baskets


Types of Verbena Plants

The verbena is a vigorous, heavy bloomer that fills your garden with colorful flowers throughout the summer months. Verbena comes in a multitude of colors and heights that range from less than a foot to over 6 feet. Verbenas are rapid-growing plants that often spread outside of their boundaries in the garden or flower bed. They are tolerant of trimming, so prune them back to keep them under control and looking their best.

Clump Verbena

Verbena canadensisKnown for it’s ability to spread, clump verbena (Verbena canadensis) blooms from in late spring and lasts until the fall. Clump verbena is a low-growing plant that reaches heights between 8 and 18 inches. Plant the clump variety of verbena in areas with full sun exposure and in soil that is well-drained. Mainly used as a ground cover, in flower beds and as an edging plant, clump verbena produces a red, white, purple or pink flower that attracts butterflies to your garden.


Moss Verbena

mossvConsidered ideal for use as groundcover on slopes and banks, moss verbena (verbena tenuisecta) thrives when planted in areas with good drainage and full sun exposure. Moss verbena is flat-growing, ranging from 6 to 12 inches in height and produces tiny clusters of purple, white and plum-colored flowers. Although moss verbena blooms profusely during the spring, flower production diminishes during the heat of the summer months. Flowering will increase again during the cooler fall weather.

Annual Verbena

The brightly colored pink, red, purple and blue flowers of the annual verbena (Verbena X hybrida) make it an attractive choice for rock gardens and window boxes. Annual verbena reaches heights of 12 inches, requires at least 6 hours of full sun each day and thrives when planted in fertile, well-drained soil. The annual verbena blooms abundantly during the spring but flowering slows during the warm summer months.

Brazilian Verbena

verbena bonariensis
The blooming purple flowers of the Brazilian verbena (Verbena bonariensis) attract butterflies to your garden and flower bed. Brazilian verbena has a long bloom time, which starts in June and lasts until the first frost. One of the taller varieties of the verbena, the Brazilian verbena reaches heights of 4 to 6 feet. Brazilian verbena,often called Verbena-on-a-Stick, requires well-drained soil and full to partial sun exposure to thrive.

Sandpaper Verbena

The short-lived sandpaper verbena (Verbena rigida) is an herbaceous groundcover that is helpful in controlling erosion on banks and slopes.(see reference 5) Sandpaper verbena grows to be a foot tall, has a 4-foot spread and produces a bright purple flower during the summer and fall months. Plant sandpaper verbena in any type of soil that is well-drained and place gardens or flower beds that receive at least 6 hours of full sun exposure each day.


See Also ….. regarding Prairie Verbena ~ Native Wildflower (btw we have tons so if you want some seeds just shout out) …..

PlantFiles: Dakota Mock Vervain, Great Plains Verbena, Prairie Verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida


‘Raider Amethyst’ Prairie Verbena ~ Glandularia bipinnatifida


14 responses

  1. Pingback: How does your garden grow? | Shanshine Day

  2. Pingback: How to Care for Verbena Flowers | Family - Popular Question & Answer

  3. Thiscwas very helpful

    May 17, 2014 at 2:34 am

  4. Frank Rizzo

    Great info’s! The Verbena has become a favorite around here.
    We’re new fans to this site!

    July 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm

  5. Lily Grace

    Thanks for the info. And how could I get some seeds from you?

    August 27, 2014 at 6:28 pm

  6. I love it…but, it doesn’t love me. Maybe I’m too good to it.

    March 11, 2016 at 1:52 am

  7. Pingback: How To Care For Verbena | Lalataso-2

  8. I picked up two VERBENA PLANTS that were not being taken care of in the store. I put them each in their own flower pots and loved and took great care of them. I was so excited to See how Beautiful they became after two weeks of loving care. These are My favorIte Flowes of all. Even My neighbor who runs the (“Worland Garden Club of the Month”) commented on these beautiful flowers and I did Win September 2015 “Worland Garden Club of the Month” Love these Amazing Beautiful Verbena Flowers.

    August 25, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    • Kathy

      I did the same thing but then I decided to separate the plant and put them in a large bowl with saucer. Then I realized I probably overwatered plus bowl container was not draining properly. I took the separated verbena plants and put them in their own pots with dry soil & compost. I am afraid to water them. I have pictures of them; it would be great if I could send them to you for your advice on how to proceed.

      April 23, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      • send them if you like 🙂

        April 29, 2017 at 1:20 am

  9. Pingback: Most beautiful perennial flowering plants: nature bring - Nature Bring

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