1113 Verbena X hybridaCommon Names: garden verbena, hybrid verbena Family: Verbenaceae (verbena or vervain Family)
The verbena hybrids are technically perennials, but most are grown as annuals. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Some are erect and bushy; others trailing and mat forming; some dense and compact; others open and spreading. The individual flowers are small, but borne in dense, many-flowered clusters to 3 in (7.5 cm) or more across. The flower clusters can be flattened, rounded or spikelike. Corolla colors include white, pink, crimson, scarlet, vermilion, purple, blue, and yellow, and each flower usually has a white central eye. Some are fragrant. The blooming period lasts throughout the summer and autumn. Trailing varieties may extend 1-2 ft (30-60 cm), and the largest erect forms may top out at 18 in (45 cm). There are hundreds of cultivars and several Series of cultivars, varying in flower color and plant habit. Some of our favorites are 'Amethyst' which has tiny blue flowers with white eyes; 'Carousel' with striped purple and white petals; 'Cardinal' with bright red flowers; and 'Peaches and Cream' with pink flowers that age to creamy white. The Romance Series are low growing and bushy with white-eyed flowers in a variety of petal colors. The Novalis Series are erect plants with rounded, almost spherical flower clusters.
Verbena X hybrida, the Verbena hybrids or garden verbenas, are a product of garden cultivation, and do not occur naturally in the wild. However some cultivars have escaped and become established in the southern U.S.
CultureToo much fertilizer will yield more leaves at the expense of flowers. Pinch out young shoots to increase bushiness and develop a more compact habit. Deadhead spent flower clusters to extend the blooming period. Light: Grow garden verbenas in full sun, whether in the ground or in a container. In the heat of the summer, garden verbenas will appreciate partial midday shade. Moisture: Garden verbena likes a moderately fertile soil that is well drained, but they like to be watered regularly. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 10. In Zones 5-9 garden verbenas are grown as annuals during the frost-free growing season. In Zones 8 or 9 through 10, they can be overwintered outdoors. Plants tend to suffer during the hottest part of summer, and may cease blooming, but they perk up again when cooler fall weather returns. Propagation: Plant seeds in autumn or early spring. Perennials may be divided any time, and stem cuttings usually root readily.
Most garden verbenas flower for an extended period and there are varieties ideally suited for the annual garden, for the perennial flower bed, for borders and edging, and for containers. Many of the trailing varieties are excellent in hanging baskets and on garden walls. Plant in masses for a ground cover, or as a single specimen. Cut flowers last long in arrangements.
The many cultivars of Verbena X hybrida are believed to have been selected from crosses between Verbena peruvuiana and V. phlogiflora, V. incisa, and V. teucroides. Each of these parent species grows naturally in South America. Worldwide, the genus Verbena contains some 250 species in tropical and subtropical America. Two or three dozen are commonly cultivated and most are known as vervains. The well known purpletop vervain (Verbena bonariensis) is native to South America, but widely naturalized in the southern U.S.
Steve Christman 9/28/09