Would you like to attract more bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators to your garden? Do you like to grow your own cut flowers for arrangements?
Story by Denise Pugh
If you answered yes to the questions above, Verbena bonariensis might be the plant for you. Tall verbena, sometimes called Brazilian vervain, stands tall without staking, moves with the breeze, attracts pollinators, and is an excellent filler in flower arrangements. And if that isn’t enough, this plant will re-seed, and in Zones 8 and higher, it is tender perennial. From a distance, the plant casts a purple cloud over surrounding flowers since the blooms appear to float atop the tall, slender stems. In tropical areas, tall verbena is considered a weed, but in north Mississippi, our winter temperatures keep it under control.
Sow seeds outside in a well-prepared planting bed after all danger of frost or start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost. Choose a site in full sun with well-drained soil amended with organic matter, and plan to provide moisture during the dry, hottest parts of the summer. Cutting the flowers will result in a bushier plant with many blooms. Great companions for this plant include purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Zinnia, and black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) for a cottage garden that can handle the summer heat.
Quick Facts and Keys to Success
Common Names: Tall verbena, Brazilian vervain
Botanical Name: Verbena bonariensis
USDA Hardiness Zone(s): 7-11
Size: 2-4 feet tall with a spread up to 3 feet
Bloom Time: June to frost
Bloom Color: Rose violet, lavender
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Exposure: Full sun
Uses: Meadow gardens, cottage gardens, and as cut flowers – an excellent filler in arrangements.