5 Sept 2019

Plant Focus: Verbena bonariensis

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

Plant Focus by Growing the Future’s Horticultural Trainer, Ben: Verbena bonariensis

If you have been to a public garden within the last few years, chances are you have seen this plant. With late season interest, a stunning skeletal form, and a lot of interest from pollinators, it ticks all the boxes! Reaching around 2 metres tall, this slender plant has great potential in most planting schemes, notably working well in informal and wildlife garden styles. The thin nature of its form gives it the ability to be looked through, so plantings throughout a border still lets the plants at the back shine.

Personally, I love this plant set against grasses, adding that flare of summer interest before the grasses, as seen here near the Garden’s mirror pool, take the stage in autumn. As a short-lived perennial, this plant seeds itself successfully, yet will not become a thug and smother other plants. This also means that saving seed yourself is relatively simple (sow at 18-21oC between autumn and early spring) so this Verbena can easily be spread around the garden.

Happy to grow on all soil types and not too fussed about the pH (as long as it is not extreme) this plant is another great addition to any garden. Cut the stems back in spring, as new growth emerges, deadhead, if you don’t want seed. This beauty prefers full sun, but can tolerate small amounts of shade. If you have cold winters, use a dry mulch to protect these plants from the elements.