Verbena is a long-blooming annual or perennial flower with heat resistance and an extremely long flowering season. Many perennials have a relatively short life span, but they make up for it with vigor and exuberant flowering. They also grow well as annual flowering plants because they bloom quickly in the first season after planting. Annual verbena grown from seed does not perform well in hot, humid climates, while most perennial or asexual verbena grows well in south Carolina's high temperatures and humidity.
When to Grow Verbena
Verbena flower blooms quickly after planting, so the best time to plant verbena
is in early spring, March or early April. In coastal areas with moderate temperatures, verbena may also be planted summer or fall.
How to Grow Verbena
Grow Verbena from Seeds
While you can purchase young plants from garden or DIY stores, growing Verbena
from seed is more affordable and often allows you a greater choice of varieties.
Growing from seed is also pleasingly easy. Fill trays with fresh, general-purpose soil.
If you are trying to grow Verbena in a colder weather, or during the winter, try sowing in seed trays with germinations lids, such as the Soligt Growing Trays with Humidity Domes. These help you to regulate the temperature and humidity levels around the seeds, encouraging quicker germination.
Sprinkle the seeds over the soil. Cover your seeds with a thin layer, about half an inch thick, of fresh soil. Gently spray with water and place in a sheltered light position to germinate. Keep the soil damp.
Following germination, allow the seedlings to grow on. Once they are large enough to handle, thin out the seedlings before transplanting into individual containers.
Grow Verbena from Stem Cuttings
Verbena propagation from cuttings is best done in late spring. This is when your verbena plants are most likely to root. Cuttings can also be taken during the summer months. These are often more robust but are slower to root.
Using a sterilized pair of scissors or knife, cut a few stem cuttings from the parent Verbena plant.
You want to make sure they are at least three inches long.
Get rid of any lower leaves on each stem cutting.
Prepare the seed starter mix when growing outdoors or potting soil if you’re growing them inside hanging baskets.
Dig the planting holes at least 3 or 4 inches deep.
Moisten the soil but be careful not to overwater the cuttings.
If you’re planning to grow Verbena
cuttings indoors, cover the container using a plastic bag to help retain moisture.
Within a few weeks, new growth should emerge. The roots will also have found, so you need to transplant the cuttings into bigger pots.
Once two or three leaves are formed, move the containers of those so the plant can harden.
Place the growing medium somewhere with enough bright light.
How to Care for Verbena Plant
Verbena Care - LightingPlant verbena
in full sun. Flowering will be much reduced in shady locations. This is a plant that requires eight to 10 hours of sun daily.
Verbena Care - Soil
Most Verbenas commonly grown in households aren't fussy about their soil requirements. They generally need a soil texture that drains water efficiently and doesn't hold too much moisture. It should, however, retain some to help the Verbena plant have thicker and healthier roots. When growing outdoors, you want to space them out at least 10 inches apart and amend the nursery bed with compost manure, to enhance moisture retention and make the soil nutrient-rich. Avoid using clay soil since it doesn’t let water pass through with ease, leading to Verbena root rot.
Its dense texture also can't allow nutrients to reach the roots. Instead, use standard potting soil and amend it with leaf mold to make it a bit lighter. You also want to make sure the ground has an acidic pH before planting. Perennials also do well in organic mulch, so throw in a layer that's at least two or three inches thick. Sandy soil tends to drain moisture at a rapid pace but isn't the best when it comes to retaining nutrients, so mulching would be a perfect idea, primarily if your Verbena type is growing outdoors for landscaping. After making all the suitable amendments, it's best to run a soil test to tell which essential nutrients are missing.
Verbena Care - Watering
Verbena plants are largely drought resistant. Regularly watering verbena plants
encourages more flowers to form. Apply about an inch of water every week to the base of the plant. Remember, plants in containers require more frequent watering than those in beds or borders. Harvesting rainwater is a great way to keep plants hydrated without running up a large water bill. While the plants can survive in dry conditions they do benefit from regular watering. Drought-stressed or thirsty plants can struggle to thrive. They may also become a target for pests such as spider mites. These plants struggle in wet or boggy soil. Plants in wet positions are also more likely to succumb to diseases such as botrytis blight.
Verbena Care - Temperature & Humidity
Planted as annuals hybrid verbenas perform suitably in virtually any climate, but may decline in the hottest period of the summer.
Verbena Care - Fertilizer
In garden beds, adding a continuous-release fertilizer and enriching the soil with organic matter at the time of planting will usually be sufficient. Otherwise, fertilize container-grown plants regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer.
Verbena Care - Pruning
In the fall you can trim verbenas
lightly to give a neater appearance to the garden, but do not cut severely until spring as new growth begins to appear. Overly severe fall pruning can reduce cold hardiness and plants may not survive a cold winter. Most verbenas are short-lived, so you should plan on replacing them after two or three years. However, some species can re-seed and naturalize in the garden.
Verbena Care - Pests & Diseases
Most Verbena perennials and annuals are prone to the effects of improper care - overwatering. Soil that remains soggy for too long causes the roots to rot, and some other adverse effects include powdery mildew forming on the leaves and blooms. If you spot any powdery mildew, then it could be a result of a fungal infection that spreads in microscopic spores.
Apart from chemical remedies, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat the affected areas. Some of the pests you might deal with include spider mites, snails, slugs, thrips, and aphids. A natural remedy for getting rid of these bugs is diatomaceous earth. Compared to chemical options, bugs find it hard to form a resistance against this chalk-like substance.
Varieties of Verbena
The various varieties of hybrid verbena are usually identified by their unique flower colors. There are notable selections:
'Lanai Royal Purple with Eye' (Verbena x hybrida 'Lanai Royal Purple with Eye' is a cultivar with bright purple flowers and contrasting white eyes.
'Texas Rose' (Verbena x hybrida ‘Texas Rose’) is a cultivar that bears reddish-pink flowers.
'Blue Princess' (Verbena x hybrida ‘Blue Princess’) is a newer hybrid variety of verbena that produces beautiful deep blue flowers.
Superbina’" series is bred to resist powdery mildew and it sometimes becomes a short-lived perennial as far north as zone 7. Flowers are white or shades of lavender.
Why is My Verbena Plant not Blooming?
This might be because it is not getting enough sunshine – six hours a day is ideal. So, move the verbena plant to ensure it is in the brightest possible spot. Also, trimming verbena
might well spark it into new growth if the flowering has slowed down.
Why is My Verbena Wilting?
Verbena plants often wilt because they are too dry or too wet, so make sure you have the watering regime just right. Some fungal diseases can also cause wilting, so ensure good hygiene and air circulation.
Why are my Verbena Leaves Turning White?
This is likely to be caused by powdery mildew, a fungal disease that leaves white deposits on the surface of the leaf. Make sure that the roots rather than the leaves are watered to avoid this problem and ensure plenty of ventilation if growing verbena indoors
. It is best to remove affected leaves to stop them from spreading.