Plant of the week: Verbena bonariensis is a real hipster plant. Personally I’m somewhat dubious about the lanky profile. But seeing them in full healthy bloom the other day, in mid-September, was a fine sight. I like plants that offer autumn attraction. Many are currently dwindling.
The first impression of this bloom is its height. Reaching around 2m when fully grown the flowers seem to hover like some kind of purple UFOs above other vegetation. In mildish climates they are perennials, returning year after year. Colder areas will have to make do with them for only a summer season. And then plant again if like.
Verbenas are drought-tolerant and want to be planted in full sun in well-drained, average soil. They are tall but strong and support is rarely needed. Their blooming season is long, lasting from around July until September, perhaps even beyond judging by this sight. They are easy care plants and butterflies love them.
How to use this plant in a garden design scheme? I suppose that depends on what kind of effect you like. Do you want them to stand out, or blend in? Because of their height lower plants will struggle for attention. So it could be a good idea to make them early bloomers and then leave it to the Verbenas to run the show later in the summer/autumn. Or you can put Verbenas together with other tall plants such as grass and create a prairie planting. It’s a subjective thing. Generally speaking they work well in (wall) flower borders, containers, city and courtyard settings, cottage and informal gardens. The work well in coastal regions and gravel gardens.