Verbena (Perennial) Growing Guide

Verbena bonariensis, Verbena tenuisecta, Verbena canadensis and hybrids

Verbena (Perennial)

Crop Rotation Group



Fertile soil that holds moisture well, enriched with compost, with a slightly acidic pH.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Varies with species. The colourful hybrid verbenas used in containers and summer beds are best grown as annuals. Tall purple verbena and ground cover verbenas tolerate winter cold to about -18°C (0°F ).


In spring, topdress the area around perennial verbenas with a balanced organic fertiliser. Hybrid verbenas grown in containers need light feeding every two weeks with a liquid fertiliser formulated for flowers.


Single Plants: 25cm (9") each way (minimum)
Rows: 25cm (9") with 25cm (9") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Verbena can be grown from seed started indoors in late winter, or you can start with purchased plants in spring. Some improved cultivars are propagated vegetatively, so they are available only as plants. Wait until the weather warms to set out these heat-loving plants. Verbena needs regular water when the plants are becoming established. A surface mulch suppresses weeds while making the plants look more attractive.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Verbenas are also called vervains in Europe, where a weedy version is used in folk medicines. Among showy verbenas for the garden, annual hybrids come in a range of colours and bicolours, and they make wonderful cascading plants for mixed arrangements. Upright purple verbena is a strong, weather-resistant perennial for late summer bloom. In climates where it is not winter hardy, seedlings started in early spring usually bloom their first year.


Gather stems for use in petite cut arrangements as you need them. Nipping out old flowers helps prolong blooming time of most varieties. Allow tall purple verbena and ground cover verbenas to keep their stems and foliage through winter for added protection from cold.


Powdery mildew and leaf spots are common with hybrid verbenas, which also can fall prey to spider mites, whiteflies, and nematodes. Perennial verbenas have far fewer pest problems.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Verbena (Perennial)