Kew Pollination Collection Verbena bonariensis
No garden should be without this bright, breezy, pollinator-friendly perennial.
Verbena bonariensis brings height and stature to a border without blocking the view of what lies beyond. Its tall, rough stems are topped with small clusters of mauve-purple flowers that glow at dusk as the daylight fades. The tall stems sway in the wind lending Verbena bonariensis an ethereal quality. This superb hardy perennial blends effortlessly into almost any planting scheme from cottage garden borders to modern courtyards. It will tolerate being grown in a pot too.
- Sow March to May
- Height: 120cm. Spread: 45cm
- 1 packet contains approximately 200 seeds
- Effective when planted in large swathes to create a gauzy screen
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Sow Verbena from February to May on the surface of a good, free-draining, damp seed compost. Lightly cover the seed with vermiculite or a very thin layer of compost. Place in a propagator or seal the seed tray inside a polythene bag, maintaining a temperature of 24-27C until after germination. This usually takes 14-21 days. Do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep the compost on the dryer side and water lightly as seedlings emerge. When verbena seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant them into trays or 7.5cm pots and grow on in cooler conditions until large enough to plant outdoors.
When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise verbena plants to outdoor conditions prior to transplanting them outdoors. They will tolerate any well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. Plant 30cm apart.
Feed and water plants regularly until they are fully established. Verbena bonariensis flowers do not require deadheading - the birds will relish the seed heads over winter. In autumn, apply a dry mulch of bark chips or straw to protect the crown of the plant during the winter months. Cut back old stems when new shoots emerge at the base of the plant in spring.
A great many of our favourite garden plants can be harmful if eaten or handled without gloves. This is rarely a cause for concern but it's always good to know what you are dealing with.
Allergic reactions are uncommon but the stems of Verbena bonariensis are quite rough. Wear gloves with a gauntlet cuff to protect your forearms.