The Verbena plant is part of the Verbena family. This genus includes more than 200 species that occur naturally in the Americas, and only in subtropical and tropical latitudes. Generally this plant is called iron, pigeon or iron grass. However, there are also more poetic names, namely: "Hercules' herb," "Venus' veins," "Juno's tears," and "Mercury's blood." In Christianity this plant is considered sacred because there is a parable in which it is said that the first bushes of verbena grew and flowered in the very place where drops of blood of the crucified Christ fell.
Since ancient times verbena has had the reputation of a very unusual plant. The Druids used it as a love potion and the Celts used it to decorate their homes by hanging dry tufts of herb as a talisman of the family home and also to bring prosperity into the home and to ward off enemies of malice and hatred. Vervain is considered a powerful weapon in the fight against vampires. It is also long known that verbena has medicinal properties. That is why it is grown not only as a decorative plant that delights with its bright flowers all summer and until late autumn, but also as a medicinal crop used in unconventional medicine.
Brief description of growing
- Planting. Stratified seed is sown for seedlings in March-April. The seedlings are planted in the garden from mid to late May or the first days of June.
- Flowering. Starts in June and ends in October.
- Brightness. Grows well in both shade and bright or diffused sunlight.
- Ground. Can grow in any soil, but a nutritious loam is best.
Water systematically and moderately until mid-July. Beginning in August, reduce watering gradually.
- Fertilizer. Throughout the season, 3 or 4 fertilizations are required, using a mineral complex with low nitrogen content.
Most often by seed, more rarely by cuttings.
- Pests. Aphids, spider mites and nematodes.
- Diseases. Blackleg, gray rot, powdery mildew, root rot and spot blight.
A review of a beautiful unpretentious long blooming flower. Verbena pomegranate star
Properties of verbena
Verbena is represented by semi-shrubs and herbaceous plants. This rhizomatous plant is cultivated as a perennial or annual (depends directly on species and growing conditions). The smooth or rough shoots may be stalked, erect or prostrate. Dark green leaf blades are pubescent on the surface, have a serrated edge, and may be pinnately cupped, dissected or solid.
Leaves are generally arranged in opposite directions, but may be whorled or alternate.
Top inflorescences may take the form of shields, spikes, panicles or clusters. One inflorescence contains from 30 to 50 small flowers, each of them 15 to 20 mm across. Flowers can be painted in a variety of colors, such as yellow, dark red, dark blue, white, cream, salmon-colored, etc. There are also blue monochrome or with an eye of white or cream color.
The fruit is a nut which consists of four parts. Flowering is observed in June-October.
Cultivate this plant both in the open ground and in a container. For example, an ample verbena planted in a hanging cachet will be a beautiful decoration of the balcony and terrace. In the mid-latitudes, verbena is cultivated as an annual since it is not very frost-resistant.
Growing verbena from seed
In general, verbena is easily propagated by seed. However, in some species, the surface of the seeds is protected by a high-density envelope that makes it difficult for them to germinate. In this case, the seed must be stratified, or more precisely, exposed to low temperatures.
The stratification procedure is quite simple. The seeds are placed on a moistened cloth, then placed in an opaque polyethylene bag.
Then they are placed for 4 or 5 days in a refrigerator shelf designed for vegetables.
Seeding in seedlings
After the seed has been stratified, it can be sown directly into the open soil. However, most gardeners grow verbena through seedlings because this method is reliable.
On average, the seeds of this plant retain high germination for 3-5 years, but there are species with lower rates. For example, hybrid verbena seeds do not germinate more than 30 percent.
In this regard, when sowing seeds, be sure to take this into account.
Sow seeds in seedlings in March. For this purpose, the seedling box should be filled with humus light soil, either perlite or sand. Spread the seeds evenly over the surface of the substrate and cover them with a thin layer of humus on top. Cover the seeds with glass or plastic and put them in a place where the temperature is kept at 18-20 degrees.
Do not forget to regularly remove condensation from the cover and ventilate the seeds. The seeds of such a plant are characterized by gradual germination, and the first sprouts will show up after 3-4 weeks. As soon as this happens, move the seedlings to a place that is slightly cooler.
verbena growing from seed.When to plant sowing seeds
Grown seedlings should be watered in time, so they are moistened with a sprayer as soon as the top layer of potting soil has dried.
After 30 days after the plants have formed 2 pairs of true leaf plates, they should be unpacked in mesh containers or in individual small containers. When the flowers adapt to the new location (after about 15 days), fertilize them with mineral complex.
To make the ampelic varieties look more lush, the tops of the shoots should be pruned above the 5-6 leaf plate. The low growing varieties should not be pruned as the bushes will already be very lush.
Putting out verbena in the ground
When to plant
Putting out verbena seedlings in the ground only when the threat of a frost return is removed.
A short-term decrease of the temperature to minus 3 degrees will not harm the plant, but a longer and stronger cold snap will kill it. Verbena grows perfectly well in any light both in the penumbra and in the sun. But in order for the plant to flower as lushly and brightly as possible, it should be planted in a sunny area, and direct sunlight will not harm it. Nourishing loam is the best choice for this culture. However, it will grow in any kind of soil, even heavy ones, but only if you lighten it by adding sand.
When planting verbena sprouts, a basic rule must be followed: distance between bushes of stemmed varieties must be 25 to 30 centimeters and between plants of compact varieties, about 20 centimeters.
Before planting the seedlings, prepare wells on the bottom of which you should lay a small layer of drainage, for this purpose, rubble or pieces of bricks are suitable. This will help to avoid stagnant water in the root system.
If the soil is dry, then first pour 2 tbsp. water into each hole.
Allow the moisture to soak in for a while, and then place the bush roots together with the clump of soil in the hole. Fill the hole with soil, and slightly compact its surface. If planting immediately after a rain or in rainy weather then the planted shrubs do not need to be watered.
Verbena from seed! Verbena from sowing to the beginning of bud formation.
Care for verbena
Care for verbena is quite simple.
It should be watered systematically throughout the growing and flowering period. Beginning in mid-July, reduce watering gradually. Loosen up the surface of the plot only in hot weather after it has been abundantly watered. This will help improve the drainage properties of the soil so that air can flow to the roots.
When verbena is planted in groups, it will only need weeding at first.
The overgrown shrubs tend to crush the weeds. With single planting, weeding will have to be done regularly. But if after planting the seedlings you fill the surface of the ground with a layer of mulch, there is no need for weeding and loosening the soil.
Feed verbena both with organic and mineral fertilizers. Apply organic fertilizer to the soil only once a season, otherwise a lot of nitrogen can accumulate in the soil, making flowering scarce but the foliage lush.
You fertilize the plant 3 or 4 times during the season with mineral complex.
When fertilized properly and timely, it will certainly give you a splendid and showy flowering. The main thing to remember is that the fertilizer should contain a small amount of nitrogen. Verbena flowers are very beautiful and have a delicate pleasant smell. Do not forget to cut off the faded inflorescences in time, then the bushes will bloom lushly until late autumn.
Pests and diseases
This crop is highly resistant to diseases. If cared for properly, it will not cause any trouble. However, too much watering or a hot, rainy month can make the plant sick with powdery mildew. Sick shrubs are treated with sulphur, Saprol or Fundazole. Also quite rarely vervain is infested by aphids or mites that can be treated with insecticides.
Extremely heavy and frequent watering can cause damage to the flower black leg, a variety of stain and rot. Therefore, water it properly so it will not have to deal with pathogenic fungi and nematodes, which are the cause of the diseases.
Werbena: cultivation and care
Care after flowering
Werbena cultivated as an annual in the midlands is dug up and burned in the fall. Next, the site is recultivated. If you decide to collect seeds from your own shrubs, then do it after the majority of the pods have dried out and turned brown.
Cut the seed pods and place them on a cloth or piece of paper. Allow them to dry completely, turning them regularly so that no mildew can develop. Remove the seeds and place them in a box or paper bag. Don't forget to sign.
Mark! Verbena seeds collected from your own bushes cannot retain the varietal characteristics of the mother plant.
Because of this, experts advise, buy seed material from a specialized store.
There is only one species that can survive the harsh winter of the middle latitudes in the open ground - it is verbena straight (Verbena stricta). This plant is extremely rare in culture but if you have it in your garden then cut all shoots back to bare ground before wintering. The site should be covered with lapnuts which will protect the flower from freezing in a snowy or frosty winter.
Verbena species and varieties with photos
There are many species of verbena but only a small portion is cultivated in the open ground.
Verbena straight (Verbena stricta)
In the middle latitudes, only this species is grown as a perennial. The bush is about 150 cm tall. The oval, sessile, greenish-gray leaflets have a serrated edge and are up to 50 mm wide and about 90 mm long. The inflorescence is about 40 centimeters long and consists of small dark blue-purple flowers. Flowering is less prolonged compared to other species.
Verbena buenos airesa (Verbena bonariensis)
In natural conditions at home, the species is presented as a perennial. The upright stems can reach a height of about 1.2 meters. The main stem is clearly visible, with side shoots growing from the base of the shrub. The elongated supratentatively arranged leaf blades are lanceolate in shape and have denticles along the edge.
Inflorescences in the form of umbrellas consist of small spikelets with very small flowers of unusual amethyst color. The species blooms very lushly and for a long time.
Verbena canadensis (Verbena canadensis)
This heat loving perennial plant has slender stems about 15-20 centimeters high. The deeply divided oval leaf plates have pointed tips. During flowering, umbrella-shaped inflorescences consisting of small flowers in purple, pink, lilac or white are formed on the shrubs.
Flowering is luxuriant, reproduction is self-sowing. Seed material of this species remains germinating for 3 years.
This species is characterized by branched shoots that can be stalked or ascending. The shape of the rather stiff leaf plates is practically wedge-shaped, with convex veins and pubescence on the underside surface of the leaves. On the tops of the stems, there are complex inflorescences, reaching about 35 mm across.
They consist of small flowers (about 10 mm in diameter) in purple or mauve. The seeds remain highly germinating for about 5 years.
Verbena hybrid (Verbena hybrida)
This species is most popular with florists. The upright or stalked shoots are characterized by strong branching. They can vary in height from 0.
2 to 0.5 meters. The oblong or elongated triangular leaves have colorless pubescence on their surface. Its inflorescences are in the shape of elaborate umbels; the fragrant, regular shaped flowers can be of many colors, such as dark purple, white, purple, etc.
There are 2 types of hybrid verbena.
The first is the mammoth, or large-flowered (Mammuth). The stems are about 0.4-0.5 meters tall and the shoots are raised and decorated with large flowers. Varieties:
The bush reaches a height of 0.3 to 0.4 m. It is decorated with umbrella-like inflorescences, reaching about 70 mm in cross-section. Each inflorescence is made up of a large number (about 55) of dark blue flowers with a whitish eye.
The diameter of the flower is 15-20 mm.
- Etna. The height of such a plant is 0.4 to 0.45 m.
The dense inflorescences reach about 70 mm in cross-section. They contain 45 to 55 scarlet-red flowers with a star-shaped large eye of a cream color.
The second variety is the low compact (var. nana compacta). The dense bushes are 0.
2 to 0.3 m tall. Сорта:
- Рубин. Semi-spherical shaped bushes are 20 to 25 centimeters tall. The dense inflorescences are about 60 mm in diameter.
They include red-purple florets 15-20 mm in diameter.
- Spectrum Roth. The plant is 25 to 30 centimeters tall. The dense, convex-shaped inflorescences reach about 60 mm across. The darkly scarlet, velvety flowers are about 25 mm in diameter.
From all the ampelike container varieties, the most common are:
- Imagination. The branching slender stems are about 50 cm long. The globular inflorescences consist of purple-purple florets. The variety is most often grown in balcony boxes and hanging baskets, but it is also used as a groundcover plant.
- Moon River.
The variety has appeared relatively recently. The stems are about 0.45 m long and are decorated with many inflorescences consisting of lavender florets. The variety is great for hanging baskets and containers.
🌺 Garden verbena species and varieties