Verbena

Height 15-30cm (6-12in)

Planting distance 25-38cm (10-15in)

Flowers early summer to first autumn frost

Fertile well-drained soil

Open sunny site

Hardy annual

The many varieties of Verbena x hybrida are beautiful plants that, throughout the summer, produce tight clusters of small pale-eyed primrose-like flowers in scarlet, crimson, purple, lavender-pink and white. Providing a foil for these gay colours are attractively toothed, dark green leaves.

The bushy plants are popular for summer bedding and borders, and the dwarf varieties are ideal for containers, edging and for window-boxes.

Popular varieties

The following are readily available as seed strains.

‘Amethyst’ has cobalt-blue flowers with a white eye and reaches 23-30cm (9-12in) high.

‘Blaze’ is a compact variety reaching 23cm (9in) high with scarlet flowers.

‘Blue Lagoon’ has true blue flowers without an eye; it grows 23cm (9in) high.

‘Delight’ has coral-pink flowers flushed with salmon. It is a small variety, just 15cm (6in) high.

‘Dwarf Jewels’ is a mixture of dwarf varieties 25-30cm (10-12in) high bearing red, purple, lavender-pink and white flowers.

‘Imagination’ bears deep violet-blue flowers and grows 30cm (12in) tall.

‘Peaches and Cream’ is only 20cm (8in) high but smothered with a mass of blooms in pastel shades of coral, salmon and cream.

‘Showtime’ comes in a range of brilliant colours, some with bold central eyes. They grow to 25cm (10in) high.

‘Sissinghurst’ is 25-30cm (10-12in) high with pretty rose-pink flowers.

Cultivation

Sow the seeds under glass in late winter, just covering them with compost and keep at 18-21°C (64-70°F). Prick out the seedlings into boxes and harden off before planting out in late spring.

Grow verbenas in any light, fertile soil in a sunny open border. Pinch out the tips of young plants to encourage bushy growth. Deadhead to prolong the flowering season.

Pests and diseases

Trouble free.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Verbena

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