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Verbena Plants

Image by, courtesy of Louise Docker

How to Overwinter Fuschias, Geraniums, & Verbena

Tender perennials such as fuchsias, geraniums and verbena need special during the cool months. The plants must be brought indoors prior to the first frost. There are several methods for overwintering fuchsias, geraniums and verbena. The easiest is to bring the plants indoors before the first frost and treat them as house plants. They can be taken back outside once the danger of frost has passed.

Choose a location in your home for your geraniums, fuchsias and verbena. They need a south facing window that receives sun for at least six hours per day. The location needs to be draft free. Cold drafts will kill these plants.

Remove insects from the plants. Spider mites and white flies are the most common pests found on these plants. Spray the leaves with a spray bottle with a mixture of mild soap and water to kill any insects.

Bring the plants indoors. Cover the plants with plastic bags for two weeks. This will hold in humidity and allow the plants time to adjust to being indoors.

Water your plants weekly. Use a watering can to water your plants once per week. Mist the foliage with a spray bottle to increase humidity levels for your geraniums, fuchsias and verbena.


Plants that have had a lot of growth during the summer should be re-potted when they are brought in for winter.

How to Care for Homestead Purple Verbena

Plant homestead purple verbena in full sunlight and well-drained soil. Allow 4 to 5 feet between each plant, as the plant is a fast-grower and will quickly fill in the empty spaces. Don't plant homestead purple verbena too close to buildings or other plants, as the plant requires good air circulation.

Keep the soil consistently damp for the first few weeks. Once the plant has spread into the surrounding soil, provide 1 inch of water per week. Water at the base of the plant and avoid wetting the foliage as much as possible.

Trim the plant by about 1/4 of its size if growth slows in mid-summer. Trim lightly in autumn, but don't prune excessively, as too much pruning will make the plant more susceptible to winter cold.

Fertilize homestead purple verbena using a general-purpose liquid fertilizer in mid-to-late spring. If you trim the plant in mid-summer, the plant will benefit from another feeding at that time. Follow the instructions on the manufacturer's label.


Homestead purple verbena can also be planted in containers. Use a container with a drainage hole, and fill the container with commercial potting soil. Fertilize the plant once in spring, using a time-release fertilizer, or monthly, using a water-soluble fertilizer. Water often, as containers dry out quickly.

How to Save Verbena Seeds

Select a healthy verbena plant and reserve that plant for seed-saving. Don’t pick or deadhead the blooms on the reserved plant, but instead, allow the blooms to wilt naturally.

Wait until the bloom is completely wilted. You’ll be able to see the seed cluster at the base of the blooms. When the seed cluster turns brown, pick the clusters off the stems and toss them in a paper sack.

Leave the top of the paper sack open so air can circulate, and put the sack in a cool, well-ventilated place for at least a week. The verbena seeds will be light tan in color, and will be very small. They will be mixed in the chaff from the seed cluster, but it isn’t necessary to separate the seeds from the chaff.

Put the seeds in an envelope and put them in a safe place until spring. If you like, you can leave them in the paper sack.

Is Lemon Verbena Edible?

Lemon verbena is an edible plant, used as a flavoring due to its strong lemon scent and taste. Lemon verbena can be cooked like spinach or used as a highlight in green or fruit salads.

Verbena Fast Facts

Types of Verbenas

Three types of verbenas are sold as garden plants. Verbena hortensis is an annual, which can be sowed in the spring. Verbena x hybrida is a short lived perennial that dies out in the heat of summer. Verbena x tenera is a long llived perennial that is semi-evergreen in warm climates and heat-tolerant. Verbena blooms may be white, peach, pink, red or purple.

Perennial Varieties

Homestead Purple is a heat-tolerant verbena with a long bloom period. Aztec is a series of long-lived verbenas that bloom well throughout the summer. Blue Princess, also known as Biloxi Blue, is a short-lived verbena with lavender-blue flowers. Some old varieties of verbena that perform well are white Snowflurry, magenta Fiesta and red Summer Blaze.


Use verbenas as groundcovers or as underplantings with roses or other shrubs. Let verbenas trail from hanging baskets or window boxes. Verbenas attract butterflies and can be used in wildflower gardens.


Plant verbenas in well-drained soil in full sun (at least 8 hours of direct sun daily). Lightly prune after blooming to encourage another flush of flowers. Prune dead stems in spring when new growth appears. Fertilize lightly in spring and after pruning.

Pests and Diseases

Leafhoppers, leaf miners and thrips can be a problem on verbenas. Apply a pesticide approved for verbenas according to the manufacturer's directions.

If spider mites attack the plants, spray with a miticide for verbenas at the rate recommended by the manufacturer.

Powdery mildew is a fungus caused by over-watering or too much rainfall. Use a fungicidal spray for verbenas, following the manufacturer's directions.

Information About Verbena Plant


The verbena was discovered in South America by a Scottish gardener named James Tweedie in the early 1800s. The plants were quickly hybridized in England and became popular in Victorian bedding arrangements.


Trailing verbena, blue vervain (verbena hastata), rigid verbena and moss verbena have all become naturalized in some warmer parts of the US. Though it is semi-hardy, verbena is mostly treated as an annual plant.


The spreading types of verbena are charming as they cascade out of a container or hanging basket, or down a wall. The low forms serve as a contrast to upright annuals like the snapdragon or larkspur.


Verbenas need full sun and moist well-drained soil, and must have good air circulation. Trim off the finished flowers to encourage reblooming, and control for spider mites if necessary.


Varieties include Aztec Red, a spreading type with rich tomato-red blossoms; Summer Snow with pure white flowers; and Peaches and Cream with flowers of peachy orange and creamy white. Quartz Purple and Quartz Silver are upright growers and compact at only 8 inches high by 8 inches wide.

How to Harvest Lemon Verbena

Harvest the leaves of your lemon verbena throughout the spring and summer as needed by removing individual leaves.

Trim down each branch by cutting half of the stem off with your pruning scissors when you want to harvest your lemon verbena to be dried. You can do this anytime throughout the summer, or in the fall before your plant goes dormant.

Wash your lemon verbena and let it air dry on a paper towel. Gather your branches once they are dry into half-inch thick bundles and secure them with a rubber band.

Hang your bundles of lemon verbena upside down in a warm and dark location for one month to dry.

Store your dried lemon verbena in an airtight container.

How to Grow Verbena

Verbena Plant Information

Plant Characteristics

The verbena plant is a heat tolerant plant that produces pink, purple or red blooms. With proper care, the verbena plant will endure from one year to the next.

Verbena Types

There are three types of verbena plants: the annual verbena, perennial verbena and hybrids. The differences among the varieties vary from the life of the plant to the size of flower it produces.

Planting Tips

Verbena is a sun-loving plant. It also requires well-drained soil. Apply a slow-release fertilizer at least once a month.

Pruning Tips

After the plant’s first bloom, cut back about one-fourth of the top growth. Carefully remove old flowers but take caution not to expose the main stems. Prune the plant at least two or three times per season.

Plant Pests

Verbena can become infested with spider mites if it is not watered or fertilized properly. Thrips and leaf miners can also pose a threat to the plant and can be treated with either a synthetic or organic spray.

Verbena: bonariensis

Verbena Brazilian Verbain (Verbena bonariensis)

Stunning rose-volet to lavender flower clusters at the tips of tall, see-through foliage create a light, airy wave of color. Superb cut flower; hardy and easy to grow in beds and borders. Very attractive to hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Reseeds itself readily. Also called tall or purpletop verbena, purpletop vervain, South American or Brazilian Verbena.

Average Count: 350 Seeds

Life Cycle: Perennial (flowers first year)
Bloom Time: Summer until first frost
Height: 3' to 6' tall
Exposure: Full sun to Light shade

When to Sow Outside: Spring, 2 - 4 weeks before average last frost.
When to Sow Inside:10 - 12 weeks before average last frost.
Seed Spacing: 1/4"
Days to Emerge: 14 - 25
Thinning: 12" apart

How to Dry Lemon Verbena

Cut 10- to 12-inch-long stems from a healthy lemon verbena plant.

Hang the stems upside down in a cool, dry, dark location with very good air circulation for seven to 10 days.

Strip the leaves from the lemon verbena stems. Refrigerate in airtight plastic containers or zip-type plastic food-storage bags. Use the leaves at your leisure because leaves dried and stored in this manner will remain flavorful and fragrant for years.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper if you’re in too big a hurry to hang and dry your lemon verbena. Spread the stems out in a single layer so that they’re not touching each other.

Bake in your oven on the lowest setting for two to three hours. Cool the lemon verbena leaves to room temperature. Strip the leaves and store as outlined in Step 3.

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