80613This is one of those warm season annuals that we do not hear much about. Verbena looks something like lantana, but rather than maturing into a nice shallow ground cover or low mounding shrub with a bit of staying power, verbena lasts only until frost next autumn. The blooms are a bit larger. The leaves are a bit greener. They stay lower than a foot, and get only a few inches wider than tall.

Floral color was already impressive decades ago when it was limited to white and rich hues of blue, red, purple and pink. Even more hues and shades are available now, as well as peach, rose, lavender and many bicolored varieties. The tiny flowers are arranged in small and dense trusses, with the outer flowers opening and fading to lighter hues before the inner flowers opening darker.

Bloom is best in full sun exposure. A bit of partial shade should not be a problem for those that cascade from planter boxes up against a wall, or pots that hang from eaves. Verbena is popularly grown as a cascading component of mixed plantings in large pots, urns and elevated planters, often in conjunction with more upright plants. Verbena works nicely for small scale bedding as well.


10 thoughts on “Verbena

  1. A mention of lantana which is a VERY noxious weed over here, but which I like and have a pretty yellow one growing under the mail box. They survive much better in our climate than verbena which I have tried to grow unsuccessfully

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    1. Yes, I remember that about lantana. It really gets going in some places here, but does not self sow as badly. Supposedly, there is a canyon in Los Angeles County (that I have never seen), where the king palm naturalized and grows wild, but does not spread beyond the riparian environment of the canyon. I do not know which specie of king palm it is. It sounds fascinating.

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      1. You know, I never met that palm (or few palms) until I went to School in San Luis Obispo. They grow here, but are unpopular. They are much more popular down south. In school, I learned only the palm known as the piccabeen palm, Archontophoenix cunninghamiana. I noticed the other specie later.

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      2. The windmill palm actually does well in very cold climates, and is quite happy in Seattle and Oklahoma City. However, until recently, they had been very unpopular because no one would have believed that a palm tree could grow in such harsh climates. Ironically, the desert fan palm, which is also known as the California fan palm, is native to a very harsh climate out in the Mojave Desert, where winters are seriously cold. The only reason it would not live in Oklahoma is that it also needs dry air and minimal rain. Also ironically, there is a dwarf palmetto that is native to the southeast corner of Oklahoma, which means that Oklahoma has as many native palms as California does, and even stranger, as many as Hawaii has, since only one palm is actually native there!

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