Verbenas for the Pollinator Garden

Verbenas for the Pollinator Garden
The following species of verbena are cultivated, and are known to be sources of pollen and nectar. These are recommended for pollinator gardens.

Some species of verbena are winter hardy in cold areas, while others are best suited to warmer regions. In many cases, those that aren’t winter hardy can be grown as annuals during the growing season since they will generally bloom the first year when grown from seeds.

Generally, verbenas prefer full sun. Verbena blossoms can vary in color according to the species or variety. Common flower colors include purple, blue, and white.

Common vervain

Preferring a moist soil, this species is hardy to zone three. The fibrous rooted plant can be annual or perennial, depending on the climate. Mostly two to six feet in height, the grooved stem is generally unbranched.

Sometimes lobed, the deep green, narrow leaves are two to six inches long. They’re lance-like to oblong..

Common vervain blooms for a month or so. The flowers can be violet-blue, dark violet-red, blue, pink, or purple. Occasionally, they’re white. This plant can yield lots of honey—enough for two to three supers, particularly during rainy years.

The light colored, water white to white honey, possibly with a blue tinge when pollen is present, has a very pleasant, mild flavor. Thinner bodied than clover honey, it rarely granulates.

Brazilian verbena

Hardy to zones seven, this is a perennial in warm areas, and annual elsewhere, this species with branched stems is three to six feet in height. Mostly basal, the leaves, three to four inches long, are elliptical.

Appearing from May until frost, the purple to violet-rose flowers emerge on two-inch-wide panicled spikes. The strong yet pleasant tasting honey granulates quickly.

Brazilian verbena tends to self sow rather easily. So the extras can be dug and moved elsewhere as needed.

Rigid Verbena

Rigid verbena is a perennial in warm regions. It looks very similar to Brazilian verbena except this is smaller, only one to two feet tall.

The intense purple, lilac, or blue blooms emerge on cylindrical clusters. Flowering generally lasts for up to six weeks.

This species is a source of honey.

Hybrid verbenas

The hybrid verbenas include some popular varieties, such as Homestead Purple as well as the various kinds of the Temari and the various Tapien verbenas. The hybrids are often grown as annuals. But, they can sometimes be short lived perennials in warm areas.

The hybrid plants, which are often up to a foot in height. are much branched and shrubby.

The flowers open in three inch wide clusters. The flower color can vary, but they usually feature a white eye.

Homestead Purple verbena is available from Bluestone Perennials. The Temari and the Tapien varieties are generally available at local garden centers and nurseries. Tapien Blue violet verbena is a Proven Winners variety. There is also a Bright Pink Temari and a Temari Trailing Blue verbena.

Tips on Growing Verbenas

Most verbenas require good drainage and warm temperatures. Avoid overcrowding the plants as verbenas can sometimes experience powdery mildew.

Generally, many verbenas do best with a moderate amount of water. Allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering. The exceptions are some of the hybrids that prefer a moist soil, such as Homestead Purple.

Verbenas can often be grown from seed. Stem cuttings are also used as well.

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This content was written by Connie Krochmal. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Krochmal for details.