Verbena

blue and white verbena Verbena is quite an outstanding groundcover. Last year, I planted ONE plant by the east fence. This year, it covered about a 5 ft. square space. Plus, it was buried under clusters of pink flowers this spring. It will slow down during the hot summer months, but pop right back up once it cools down. Verbenas make excellent cut flowers and are very easy to propagate with cuttings.

pink verbena I've got indigo blue and white verbena planted further down the fence line. And, close together, too. I'm hoping they'll intermingle and look like one giant purple and white plant. Verbena blossoms are small, five-petaled and tubular. I've read that even the perennial verbena is treated as an annual, but I don't know why. Of course, maybe my plans to trim the pink back by about half it's size, fertilize it and let it grow again won't work. Perhaps it's better to start with a fresh plant every year.

and yet more verbenaVerbena comes in both tall and short varieties. Use the short stuff for groundcover or hanging baskets. Use the tall plants in your borders. They seem to thrive in Florida's heat and can tolerate some drought conditions. In fact, they'd rather not be wet all the time, but good air circulation is important. Most of the verbena I've seen at the local nurseries is the low-growing variety. If you wanted to try the tall variety, you may need to start your plants from seed. Park Seed offers several varieties that grow between 8- to 12-inches tall.

The purple verbena pictured above right grew around the corner of my house last year. It was quite a spectacular sight. Unfortunately, I've not been able to find that particular shade of purple again. Maybe this fall. Plant colors seem to vary every year. I wish I'd thought to take some cuttings from it. This summer we had some concrete work done on the patio and then had it enclosed. All that activity was just too hard on the verbena and it quietly gave up the ghost. I miss it.