Friday, February 10, 2012

Drought Tolerant Verbena Growing Tips



Verbena is a great plant that features long lived vibrant flowers that are drought tolerant. Grow verbena on a sunny slope, in a rock garden and  in hanging containers; the verbena spills down the sides of the container and it looks very eye appealing.

Verbena is easy to grow provided you give it what it wants; full sun and  rich soil that is well drained. 

The first time that I planted verbena was in 2007.  I took a chance at planting seeds.  At the time I did not know about the cold storage so my seedlings grew but they were not healthy.  I transplanted  the seedlings to my side slope garden. 

The sun was full on the slope for about 6 hours and then there is part sun. The first year I thought I had killed the verbena as the flowers were small and did not repeat.  My grown from seeds verbena died back in late summer. I added a layer of compost to the garden on the slope in the fall and then a layer of mulch.

The following spring I readied the side slope with compost and  I was delighted when the verbena returned in early summer. 

The lacy greenish gray foliage of the verbena looks nice spilling down along the rocks and the colorful purple blooms are so vibrant that the side slope garden is a feature in my yard.  Verbena reseeds itself and every year after that my slope garden grew fuller.  Verbena is a lovely flower to grow in your garden as it booms from spring to frost.  Here are some questions and answers that will help you with growing verbena in your home garden.

 Questions and Answers for Growing Verbena


When should I plant verbena seeds?



Plant verbena seeds indoors eight weeks before the last spring frost.  Unlike other flower seeds verbena seeds cold storage to grow.  Plant verbena seeds in seed start kit, then set the seeds in a cool and dark area; your basement, or the lower rack of your refrigerator. Leave the verbena seed kit in your refrigerator for 10 days.  

Check the seed daily to make sure the soil is evenly most.  During seed germination the soil must not dry out.  Remove the verbena from your refrigerator and set the seedlings next to a southern exposure window or under a grow light.  Germination takes 2 to 4 weeks.  Transplant the verbena seedlings outdoors when they are 6 to 8 inches high.  
Outsidepride Verbena Mix - 2000 Seeds


Where should I grow verbena?



Verbena grows best in full sun with well drained soil and is hardy in growing zone 6 to 9.  Verbena looks good growing on a slope, a window box or hanging container.  The natural spreading of 12 to 18 inches is eye appealing with the long blooming flowers.

What flowers look good grown with verbena?



I grow verbena flowers in masses and find that lady’s mantle, zinnias, black-eyed Susan, blazing star liatris, echinacea, red bee balm, coreopsis, cosmos and salvia are flowers that add colorful blooms to the garden from spring to frost. 
 

How do I get the ready for planting verbena outdoors?



Clear your garden site of grass and debris.  Loosen the soil to the depths of ten inches.  Add four inches of compost or manure to the soil and mix thoroughly.  Next add a time released fertilizer to the soil, mix the appropriate amount of fertilizer according to the directions on the package.  Plant the verbena flowers ten inches apart.  Water plants well after planting.

 How do I care for verbena?



Care for your verbena seedlings by watering the plants in the morning with a drip hose.  Keep the soil evenly moist but not wet until the verbena plants grow into busy plants. These plants are what you would call established and will be able to tolerate dryer soil conditions however, they prefer regular watering.   I provide my verbena plants with deep watering every 2-3 days with a soaker hose and the plants grow very well.  Verbena will die if you water the plant too much, or if the roots are in standing water.

Prior to the peak summer heat, apply four inches of fine mulch such as grass clippings, mulched leaves or organic wood chips.  If the verbena is growing in a flowerbed, cover the entire bed with the mulch.   The mulch will help the young plants to retain moisture and it will aid in preventing weeds. 


Tips:


  1. Encourage repeat flowers by removing the spent blooms.   
  2. Verbena will self-sow; be careful when weeding as you do not want to pull out a new verbena seedling.
  3. Choose from a variety of verbena colors: purple, white, red and pink flowers for your yard and garden.
  4. Grow close to walkway or patio so you can watch the butterflies. Butterflies love the nectar rich verbena that blooms repetitively from spring to frost.

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