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Verbenas bloom from spring to autumn with very little fuss.

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Verbena Quartz Series. Picture courtesy Ball Horticultural CompanyVerbena Quartz Series. Picture courtesy Ball Horticultural CompanyWe hope you find this excerpt from our Plant Index helpful. It contains over 800 plants – documented in detail with beautiful photographs. No longer will those expensive plants you purchased die on you because you forgot what the salesman told you about them, and the information on the plant label was insufficient.  Learning where to position and how to care for your plants correctly will save you lots of time spent on transplanting plants which were grown in the wrong position, as well as hard earned money spent on replacing dead plants.

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Verbena peruviana 'Twinkle Purple' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Twinkle Purple' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Twinkle Purple' Picture courtesy TuberfloraGarden Verbena (Verbena x hybrida)

Condensed Version:

Verbena is a popular container plant and perfect for hanging baskets and window boxes. It also looks good in rock gardens, as an edging plant, or a short-lived but extremely colourful groundcover. The verbena hybrids are technically perennials, but most are grown as summer annuals. There are hundreds of cultivars and several series of cultivars, varying in flower colour and growth habit. Some are erect and bushy; others trailing and mat forming; some dense and compact; others open and spreading. The small individual flowers are borne profusely in dense clusters all summer and into autumn and come in shades which include white, pink, crimson, scarlet, vermilion, purple, blue, and yellow; some are bi-coloured; some have a central white eye; and some are fragrant.

Verbena peruviana 'Twinkle Pink' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Twinkle Pink' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Twinkle Pink' Picture courtesy TuberfloraTheir main requirements are full sun and fertile but very well-drained soils; making them ideal for hot dry sites. Water regularly until your plants are established but thereafter, water them only when dry. Verbenas are susceptible to fungal diseases, especially in very humid regions, so try to avoid overhead watering. If you don’t deadhead your verbena, it may quit blooming, but this need not be a tedious task - once the first blooms are spent, using secateurs, or for large areas, hedge cutters; simply clip off the top 1/4 of the stems that hold the faded flowers, and within weeks your plants will be in full bloom once again. Verbenas should not be over fertilised and a feed once a year with a complete fertiliser will suffice, together with a mulch of compost. Over fertilising will encourage abundant leaf growth, but fewer blooms.

Verbena peruviana 'Twinkle Crimson' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Twinkle Crimson' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Twinkle Crimson' Picture courtesy TuberfloraFull Version:

Description, History & Interesting Facts:

Verbena belongs to the Verbenaceae family of plants, which contains more than 1,100 species in about 30 genera and includes Duranta, Clerodendrum and Petrea. The majority of the 250 Verbena species originate in the Americas and Europe. Verbena X hybrida, the verbena hybrids or garden verbenas are a product of garden cultivation, and do not occur naturally in the wild. However some cultivars have escaped and become established in the southern U.S. The many cultivars of Verbena x hybrida are believed to have been selected from crosses between Verbena peruvuiana and Verbena phlogiflora, Verbena incisa, and Verbena teucroides. Each of these parent species grows naturally in South America.

Verbena peruviana 'Donalena Deep Pink' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Donalena Deep Pink' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Donalena Deep Pink' Picture courtesy TuberfloraThe verbena hybrids are technically perennials, but most are grown as summer annuals. There are hundreds of cultivars and several series of cultivars, varying in flower colour and growth habit. Some are erect and bushy; others trailing and mat forming; some dense and compact; others open and spreading. The small individual flowers are borne profusely in dense clusters all summer and into autumn and come in shades which include white, pink, crimson, scarlet, vermilion, purple, blue, and yellow; some are bi-coloured; some have a central white eye; and some are fragrant. Trailing varieties may extend 30 to 60 cm, and the largest erect forms may reach 45cm tall. Plant them en masse as a groundcover or in hanging baskets and pots for months of colour.

Verbena peruviana 'Donalena White Hail' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Donalena White Hail' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Donalena White Hail' Picture courtesy TuberfloraIn the Garden:

Because they flower so profusely, verbena is a popular container plant and perfect for hanging baskets and window boxes. It also looks good in rock gardens, as an edging plant, or a short-lived but extremely colourful groundcover. Garden centres sell them in 6-pack seedling trays, pots and hanging baskets, but if you have the time, they are easy to grow from seed sown in spring; so you don't need to spend a lot of money to reap the rewards of verbena. An added bonus is that their cut flowers last long in a vase and attract butterflies to the garden.

Verbena peruviana 'Donalena Crimson' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Donalena Crimson' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Donalena Crimson' Picture courtesy TuberfloraCultivation:

In warm regions verbenas are grown as short-lived perennials, and although they are semi-hardy to frost, in cold regions they are usually treated as summer annuals and sown or planted in early spring once all danger of frost is over. Their main requirements are full sun and fertile but very well-drained soils; making them ideal for hot dry sites. Water regularly until your plants are established but thereafter, water them only when dry. In very hot and dry regions they will need more regular watering to look at their best, and may appreciate some relief from extremely hot midday sun. Verbenas are susceptible to fungal diseases, especially in very humid regions, so try to avoid overhead watering. Young plants may be pinched to promote bushier growth; and regular deadheading spent flowers will encourage additional blooms. If you don’t deadhead your verbena, it may quit blooming, but this need not be a tedious task - once the first blooms are spent, using secateurs, or for large areas, hedge cutters; simply clip off the top 1/4 of the stems that hold the faded flowers, and within weeks your plants will be in full bloom once again.

Verbena peruviana 'Donalena Violet' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Donalena Violet' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Donalena Violet' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbenas should not be over fertilised and a feed once a year with a complete fertiliser will suffice, together with a mulch of compost. When planting out young seedlings, do not add fertiliser; wait until the plants are established and growing strongly. Over fertilising will encourage abundant leaf growth, but fewer blooms.

Propagation:

Propagation is by division or inter-nodal cuttings (i.e. cut between the nodes rather than just under them to make a cutting). Cuttings can be taken in late summer and in cold regions overwintered indoors. Containers can also be overwintered indoors; or new plants may simply be purchased or grown from seed each spring. Verbena is relatively easy to start from seeds sown in well-drained soil, but germination might take as long as a month, so be patient. Start the seeds indoors in late winter or outdoors in early spring once all danger of frost is over. They germinate best in soil temperatures of 22 to 24°C. Sow into trays or individual peat or fibre pots, placing two seeds in each pot. They do not require light for germination, so cover lightly with seedling soil. Water regularly but allow the soil to drain well before watering again. Once the seedlings have 3 to 4 Verbena peruviana 'Donalena Dark Blue' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Donalena Dark Blue' Picture courtesy TuberfloraVerbena peruviana 'Donalena Dark Blue' Picture courtesy Tuberfloraleaves per plant, clip out the weakest plant from each pot, or transplant the seedlings sown in trays. Harden off your plants by moving them outdoors for a few hours each day, gradually exposing them to more and more sunlight before planting them into the garden or containers. Once your seedlings are planted out and growing well, pinch out the centre shoot in each plant for bushier growth. Avoid high humidity in the growing environment as this can induce powdery mildew.

Pests & Diseases:

Verbena are relatively carefree if cared for correctly and grown in well-drained soil, and in fact, the main cause of problems with verbena is over-pampering, especially overfeeding and overwatering. Plants that are kept too moist and don’t get enough sun are susceptible to powdery or downy mildew, rust and other fungal diseases; so plant verbena in a sunny part of your garden to prevent this problem. Also, ensure that there is good air circulation around the leaves. Watch out for aphids, scale insects, slugs or snails, whitefly, thrips and spider mites.

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