This herbaceous or semi-shrub plant is popularly called "pigeon grass". Verbena has more than 120 species and varieties in its family. The plant has long been considered healing and even magical. The homeland of this flowering plant is considered to be North or South America. Among the variety of species, there are annual and perennial representatives.
Verbena has elongated-oval serrated leaves of a dark green color, slightly pubescent, sometimes serrated. It blooms with small (about 2 centimeters in diameter) flowers, collected in inflorescences (about 50 pieces in each). One-color or two-color their color is represented by a wide range of different shades: blue and blue, pink and red, white and yellow, cream and purple. The external characteristics of the plant directly depend on the species and variety. This gorgeous bloom lasts for a long time - from early June to late October.
Popular types of verbena
Verbena has gained great popularity in floriculture for its unpretentiousness and attractiveness for a long time. Among the many species, the most popular are distinguished.
"Canadian" - This verbena variety belongs to perennial plants. Under favorable climatic conditions, it can bloom until the end of October.
This low plant (only twenty centimeters in height) is distinguished by an openwork shape of leaves and inflorescences of delicate shades - white, pink, purple.
"Tough" - this verbena variety is grown in our country as an annual, although it is considered a perennial plant. The inflorescences of this species are painted in lilac shades. On branched stems there are hard pubescent leaves with an elongated shape.
"Buenos Aires" - this verbena variety belongs to tall species, its stems often exceed a meter in height. This perennial shrub has a large number of lateral stems with thin, toothed, elongated leaves. Umbellate inflorescence is collected from a large number of spikelets. It blooms with numerous small flowers of a lilac shade.
"Hybrid" - this variety is bred from several species. The herbaceous plant, reaching fifty centimeters in height, has a large number of lateral shoots. The leaves are pubescent, resembling a triangle in shape. A distinctive feature of this variety is the floral variety of inflorescence shades. There are more than thirty types of them - from the lightest to the darkest tones.
The advantage of verbena over other flowering plants is long flowering and good germination of seeds even when stored for a long time (within two years).
Choosing a seat and planting verbena
This unpretentious herbaceous plant can give its flowering in a lighted area or in partial shade. Temperature drops are not terrible for vervain, but it does not apply to frost-resistant plants. Therefore, these flowers are planted in open ground only when there is definitely no frost.
The soil for planting needs loose and almost any composition. You can use lime soil, any fertile one. It is recommended to mix dense soils with sand, and lay a small drainage layer in the planting holes.
Outdoor care for verbena
Verbena is a plant that does not tend to be capricious. Even with the most minimal care, it will delight with green foliage and different colors of inflorescences.
To prevent the earth from compaction, it is advisable to regularly loosen the soil near each plant, especially after heavy rainfall. Single plants must be freed from emerging weeds in time. If the verbena bushes were planted at a distance of no more than twenty-five centimeters from each other, then they are not afraid of weeds. Plants will grow in breadth very quickly and simply will not allow the weed grass to germinate.
At the initial stage of plant formation, watering is carried out more often, and over time it is gradually reduced (from about mid-summer). Watering vervain is recommended sparingly and as needed. As soon as the ground around the bush has dried up, it’s time to water. Avoid a lack of moisture, as it affects the development of the verbena root system.
You can feed verbena shrubs with mineral fertilizers (about four times for the whole season) or organic (one application is enough). Extra feeding for this plant will not be beneficial. Instead of abundant flowering, you can get an active growth of the culture. So don't get too carried away with fertilizing.
Pruning shoots and removing wilted inflorescences are necessary for plants to increase the flowering period. If you remove dried flowers in time, then the verbena will not have to waste energy on their nutrition. It is recommended to cut the shoots of the plant to about 25 percent of its entire length.
Reproduction of verbena
The seed breeding method of verbena is suitable even for an inexperienced grower. March is the most favorable month for planting seeds. In the winter months, the germination process is very slow, but with the arrival of spring, the plants revive much faster. The first shoots appear in 10-15 days.
It is recommended to pre-soak the seeds in a biostimulator, which promotes the speedy growth and development of plants. In a prepared container with moist soil, it is necessary to evenly scatter the seeds and cover them with glass or film to create greenhouse conditions (the seeds are not covered with soil from above). The container with seeds should be kept in a warm room with a temperature close to 25 degrees. At this temperature, the first shoots will begin to hatch after 3 days. After their appearance, boxes with seedlings are transferred to a cooler room.
How to grow verbena from seeds.
Watering is carried out by spraying the soil, excess moisture is not allowed.
If you plant the seeds in separate cups, then you will not need to pick in the future. When growing seeds in large containers, picking is carried out with the formation of the first leaf on the seedling.
Having transplanted young plants into separate cups, it is necessary to give them time to adapt to a new place and root (about 2 weeks). After that, it's time to feed the plants with fertilizers containing nitrogen. In tall varieties, to form a lush bush, it is recommended to pinch the top at the initial stages of development.
Seedlings are planted in open ground in early June, after having carried out a hardening procedure. When planting, it is necessary to observe the interval between seedlings - from 20 to 30 centimeters.
Propagation by cuttings
Cuttings are usually carried out in the spring. The upper shoots are used for cuttings. They are cut carefully, leaving a stalk with four pairs of leaves. The lower part of the cutting is cleared of foliage and buried in the soil.
The soil, which will facilitate the rapid rooting of the cuttings, should consist of peat and sand. It is better to leave cuttings covered with transparent film until the root system is fully formed.
Verbena after flowering
At the end of flowering, fruits remain on the plants - nuts, in which the seeds have formed. Only fruits with a dark brown color are cut off, laid out on clean paper or oilcloth and left to dry completely. During drying, the fruits must be periodically turned over - this will prevent mold from forming.
Well-dried seeds are harvested and stored in any paper packaging until the next season.
This perennial plant in our country is very often grown as an annual crop. After flowering and fruiting, verbena is usually removed from the flower garden. But with a great desire and perseverance, this flowering dwarf shrub can be saved until next season.
Around the beginning of November, the plant must be carefully dug out, without damaging the root system, and transferred to a closed room with a temperature of no more than 15 degrees Celsius. Wintering in such a temperature regime can provoke the growth of young shoots, and even the flowering of the plant. In this case, the inflorescences must be cut off, and the shoots must be shortened a little.
Mandatory pruning of verbena is carried out in early spring (around the beginning of March), after which the verbena is ready for planting in the ground. A plant preserved in this way begins to bloom and bush much earlier.
The use of verbena in landscape design
Among the many varieties of this culture, there is medicinal verbena, which is used in official and folk medicine in some recipes. But most often, verbena is a decorative ornament. Floral designers use chic inflorescences to create bouquet arrangements. And landscape designers - when decorating garden plots, flower beds, various group plantings. Verbena can be found on loggias and balconies, on verandas and in gazebos. The verbena cache-pot looks spectacular as a decoration in summer pavilions.
The big advantage of verbena over other flowering plants is its wide range of colors. This plant can be combined with absolutely any flora. Various shades of verbena can be easily combined with wildflowers as well as with more solemn and exotic ones.
Diseases and pests
One of the main verbena pests is the miner fly. These insects are able to eat away most of the green part of the plant. After such "processing", the verbena's metabolic processes are disrupted, and it may die. It is necessary to fight this pest by spraying with special chemical solutions.
Subject to all the rules of care, the plants practically do not get sick. If these rules are violated, then the appearance of the plant will immediately give an alarming signal.
For example, abundant (excessive) watering is indicated by the purple tint of the leafy part of the verbena, decay of its individual parts (stem, leaves, root) or infection with powdery mildew. To eliminate these problems, you need to take preventive measures:
- Remove infected leaves.
- Stop watering for a while.
- Spray the plant with insecticidal preparations.
Verbena is a beautiful and unpretentious garden flower; even a novice gardener can grow it.
Video - verbena: cultivation, care and legends
VERBENA - cultivation, care, legends
Most often, hybrid verbena (V. Hybrida) is used in landscaping. This plant is remarkable for the variety of colors. It can be propagated by seeds and vegetatively. It is perennial in nature, but because of the cold winter in temperate climates, it does not survive and is used as an annual.
The height of the hybrid verbena bush is not more than 50 cm, the color of the petals is from milky to purple. Inflorescences are stocky, composed of several dozen flowers. Flowering lasts from early summer to autumn frosts. Can give self seeding.
In the gardens of connoisseurs, you can sometimes find species of plants.
Buenos Aires or Bonar or Argentine verbena (V. Bonariensis)
A perennial, in cold countries it is grown as an annual. The plant is large, erect, grows up to a meter in height. The main stem is well marked. All side shoots have inflorescences. The flowers are lilac and red, collected in groups. Blooms all summer long, suitable for background.
Verbena mammoth (V. Mammuth)
This plant is 0.5 m high with large inflorescences of amethyst, pink or milky color. Often there is a contrasting spot in the center of the corolla. The span of the petals can reach 2 cm.
Verbena low (V. Nana campacta)
Height 20-30 cm, inflorescences filled, reach 5 cm in diameter, red or violet color.
Verbena hard (V. Rigida)
A plant with creeping stems and small flowers, collected in inflorescences a few centimeters in diameter. Blooms luxuriantly with lilac or purple flowers. Grown in gardens since the 19th century.
Verbena Canadian (V. canadensis)
A plant with slender stems 20 cm long and pink or white flowers arranged in lush inflorescences. Abundant flowering. It is able to reproduce by self-seeding.
Verbena double-pinned or Dakota (V. Bipinnatifida)
Delicate and thermophilic plant 60 cm high, bush diameter 30 cm. Herbaceous perennial with semi-woody stems like thyme. Great for hot, dry areas. The flowers are pink or purple. Blooms mainly in spring.
Naturally, it is contraindicated in case of individual intolerance, which can be obtained from a doctor or track the reaction on your skin.
Also, it is undesirable to use vervain for hypertension (low blood pressure).
It is completely contraindicated for use by pregnant women. Verbena acts on the uterus and can cause premature birth or other problems.
Use should be limited to children under 14.
You can start planting seeds from the last decade of February or from the first decade of March. If you pay enough attention to the plant, then, as a rule, a healthy and strong flower is obtained. Initially, boxes or pots are prepared for growing verbena, in which seedlings will be planted.
Plants love soil that is well fertilized and fertile. Before planting in the ground, they are warmed up. The seeds are prepared in this way: moistened, placed on a damp cloth and left for 2-3 hours. In order for them to germinate faster, you can use a growth stimulator. When sowing, the seeds are not buried in the ground; it is recommended to lightly sprinkle them with sand.
It is better to sow more seeds, if they sprout well, just thin out. The box is covered with glass or foil to create a mini greenhouse effect. Future seedlings are removed to a warm, dark place, where there are no large temperature fluctuations, drafts. The optimum temperature in the room where verbena seeds are germinated should be at least 19 degrees Celsius.
Watering should be done very carefully so as not to wash out small seeds. Watering is done once every 7 days, this is done with pre-settled water. When watering verbena, do not use tap water.
The first shoots of plants appear in 14-20 days, the timing may vary due to soil, seed quality, temperature and other factors. After the first shoots appear, the film is removed. And the container with the seedlings is moved closer to the window so that they receive more sunlight.
If seeds of low-growing varieties are selected, then such a plant branches by itself without additional manipulation. If ampelous varieties are chosen, then it is necessary to pinch over the fifth leaf. Plants are regularly watered, and when the heat comes, they begin to harden, taking them out into the fresh air, while the seedlings should be protected from temperature changes, frost, and cold air.
Diseases and pests of verbena
Despite the unpretentiousness, sometimes problems arise when growing verbena flowers:
- bacterial wilting
- stem and root rot
- leaf damage by fungus, parasites.
These diseases occur due to violations of the rules of care, crowding of plants and sudden changes in temperature and humidity... Insecticides are used against parasites, mold will defeat saprol. But if you monitor the conditions of the verbena, these difficulties can be avoided.
To extend the flowering period, pick off wilted flowers and buds in time. In this case, the plant blooms until frost.
Verbena is an excellent design solution for city flower beds and decoration of your garden plot... Unpretentiousness and bright large flowers make its presence mandatory both in the household of an experienced florist and a beginner. The variety of varieties and long flowering with proper care attract the attention of plant lovers to it.
Small varieties are good for container or border decoration. This flower is also grown for bouquet arrangements. Cut verbena will stay in a vase for up to 10 days. A large selection of colors and endurance make it indispensable when creating jewelry from fresh flowers.
In addition, we are exhibiting a video on how to grow hybrid verbena from seeds at home.