Verbena verbena Lanai Lavender Star

(ver-bee' nah)

Common name: Verbena, Vervain

Family: Verbenaceae, Vervain

Height x width: 8-12" x 18-36"

Growth rate: moderate to fast (some cultivars, once established)

Foliage: opposite, variously cut or lobed

Flowers: terminal heads of florets flat or convex to 2" wide; corymbs or panicles; corolla tube spreading at mouth with notched lobes; many colors and bicolors

Hardiness: annual (hardy in zone 9), some species hardy in zone 8

Soil: well-drained, tolerates dry


Pests and problems:damping-off of seedlings, bacterial wilt, botrytis blight, powdery mildew (especially on some hybrids), aphids, beetles, caterpillars, whiteflies (mainly indoors), spider mites, nematodes; although these may all occur, this genus is relatively pest-free

Landscape habit, uses: massing, groundcover, containers, rock gardens, hanging baskets, butterfly gardens

Other interest: native to tropical and subtropical America; genus name is derived from classical name for laurel and myrtle, common name is derived from Celtic words fer meaning to remove and faen meaning stone, refering to the supposed use of a species in treating bladder stones

Other culture: some species stop blooming in heat and drought, watering promotes return to flowering but cooler weather is required for best flowering; space 12-18" apart

Propagation: seed (prechill at 40ºF 7 days) sown 12 weeks before planting out, softwood cuttings later in the season


bonariensis (bo-nair-ee-en' siss)--Tall Verbena, 3-4' tall, hardy to zone 8, violet, often used as a cut flower or interplanted among lower annuals, or massed in back of a border; 115,000 seeds per ounce.

x hybrida (hi-bri'dah)(x hortensis)--Garden Verbena, most commonly seen group of cultivars, generally grouped by habit into spreading (8-10" x 12") or upright (8-16" x 8-10"), many cultivars very susceptible to powdery mildew; 10,000 seeds per ounce.

rigida (ri-gi-dah)--Rigid Verbena, erect 18-24" tall and as wide, hardy to zone 8, purple, dark green leaves, good drought tolerance .

tenuisecta (ten-uu-e-sec' tah)--Moss Verbena, 8-12" tall and 12-24" wide, hardy to zone 8 with some protection, purple, may reseed, somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew; 25,000 seeds per ounce; 'Imagination' is AAS winner.
 (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons, Forest and Kim Starr)

Several other species such as canadensis and hastata are perennial to zone 4. 

Cultivars flowers habit other
'Amour Light Pink' pastel pink upright branching, compact
'Blaze' scarlet upright  
'Blue Lagoon' blue upright mildew resistant
Novalis series 7 colors upright early, compact
'Peaches & Cream' salmon, apricot spreading  
'Raspberry Crush' red to pink spreading  
Romance series 7 colors spreading some eye colors
'Showtime' mix spreading bright colors
'Springtime Mix' 8 colors spreading  
'T&M Dwarf Jewels' mix spreading early, dwarf
'Trinidad' bright rose upright early, compact
Valentine series 3 colors upright white eyes, 3" wide flowers
'Vivacious Mix' 5 colors upright continual bloom
'Waterfalls' blue shades upright  

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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