Verbena bonariensis is a popular perennial in English gardens. The long, wiry stems end in fragrant rosy purple flowers that wave over shorter plants in the garden, so they add a lovely graceful touch to a perennial border. It’s a long-blooming plant – it starts flowering in early summer and continues flowering through the fall. This makes it a great asset to any perennial garden.
Verbena bonariensis is commonly known as purple top and sometimes as Argentinean vervain, South American vervain, purple top vervain, or purple top verbena. Although popular in English gardens, it was actually first discovered in, and named for, the city of Buenos Aires.
Verbena bonariensis is very easy to grow. It’s a clump-forming perennial, but it is annual north of Zone 6 in the United States. In northern gardens, however, it will re-seed, and so it will come back in future years. Luckily, it doesn’t re-seed invasively, just enough to keep a few new plants coming up every year.
Although the base of the plant is only about a foot tall, the flowers will reach up to four feet on narrow stems. Plant it in the middle of the border for maximum effectiveness.
Butterflies are attracted to Verbena bonariensis, so it’s a great addition to a wildflower setting. Its flowers can be used for fresh flower arrangements. The flower heads also dry well.
How to Grow Verbena bonariensis It likes full sun with moist but well drained soil. If new seedlings come up where they’re unwanted, just dig them out in late spring and move them somewhere else. If they’re perennial in your area, they can be dug up and divided in the spring if the clump is starting to get too big.
When planting, be sure to add plenty of compost to the planting hole. This will give it enough extra nutrients to encourage taller growth.
Combine it with almost any other perennial to create a colorful graceful look to your English garden. Try one of these pretty plants, and you’ll soon want more.