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Verbena bonariensis
Verbena bonariensis

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Ample, Moderate, Minimal

Verbena

Verbenaceae
Annuals, Ground covers, Perennials

These showy perennials bear clusters of small, tubular, five-petaled flowers, usually in summer. Most are fast-growing groundcovers, good in parking strips, along driveways, and on dry banks; also attractive in wall crevices and hanging baskets. Best in hot weather. Need good air circulation (to avoid mildew) and well-drained soil, especially in winter. Many are treated as annuals. There are many hybrid groups, which often confuses the botany.

Verbena bipinnatifida

Perennial, native from western Great Plains to Mexico. Grows to 8–16 in. high and 1/2 ft. or wider. Finely divided leaves and blue flowers. Self-sows. ‘Valley Lavender’ is low growing, just 3–6 in. high, with bright lavender flowers over a long period. Little water.

Verbena bonariensis
Verbena bonariensis

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Verbena bonariensis

Annual in colder climates. Native to South America; naturalized in California. Border plant to 3–6 ft. tall and 1/2–3 ft. wide, with airy, branching stems carrying purple flowers. Leaves are mostly basal. The plant’s see-through quality makes it suited for the foreground as well as the back of a border. Self-sows freely. Little water.

Verbena gooddingii

Short-lived perennial. Native to Southwest deserts. Grows to 1 1/2–2 ft. tall and 3–4 ft. wide, with small, deeply cut leaves. Pinkish lavender flowers at ends of short spikes. Blooms first summer from seed sown in spring. Can reseed. Little to moderate water.

Verbena hybrids

Short-lived perennials in Zones 8–24, H1, H2; often treated as an annual in all zones. Many-branched plant to 6–12 in. high and 1/2–3 ft. wide. Oblong, 2–4-in., bright green or gray-green leaves with toothed margins. Flowers in flat, compact clusters to 3 in. wide. Colors include white, pink, red, purple, blue, and combinations. 

Verbena lilacina

Perennial, native to Baja California. Grows to 1 ft. high and 3 ft. or wider. Light green, deeply cut leaves. Lilac-colored flowers bloom from spring to fall (nearly all year, in mildest areas). Useful groundcover for hot, dry sites. ‘De La Mina’ forms a 3-ft. mound, has darker purple flowers. Little to moderate water.

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