I Love Verbena Bonariensis

Oct 5, 2019 | Love This!

Name: Verbena bonariensis aka tall verbena.

Type of Plant: On the Cape and Islands this is a self-seeding tender perennial. In slightly colder places it’s a self-seeding annual, and in warmer climates a true perennial.

 Why I Love/Hate this plant: There’s so much to love about this plant that it’s hard to know where to start. First of all, it’s tall and thin so it fits well between other perennials and annuals…it plays well with others! Secondly, the thin stems that are topped with purple flowers are great in bouquets, so a must for the cutting garden. Third, in this area, once you have it you always have it…it seeds itself and you don’t have to do anything other than pull out the excess in early June. Fourth, although who’s counting, it flowers from late-June through October and finally, the butterflies love it!

A Word to the Wise: If you don’t like editing out self-seeding plants, this isn’t for you. But if you don’t mind pulling out the excess in June, you’ll be blessed with areas of purple flowers for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

Grow these in full sun and well drained soils.

Don’t spread mulch where you want these to grow. They will spread seeds, but if you cover those with mulch they won’t germinate. So leave the areas where you desire this plant uncovered.

If you can’t find plants in the early summer in garden centers, this plant is easy to grow from seed, but in my experience it’s best if you plant it in pots in late February and then put those pots outside in the cold all through March and April. That will help more seeds sprout. In May, transplant them into the areas you want these to grow and you’ll have tall verbena for years to come

Verbena bonariensis is perfect for the cutting garden.

These small flowers attract bees and butterflies.

Purple and lime-green are always a fantastic combo in the garden. Here the tall verbena is near Golden Delicious Pineapple Sage.


  1. Cary Bradley

    Thanks sooo much for sharing this. We’re planning our first Coastal Rhode Island garden this winter and your loves are extremely valuable to us and our plans! We had pineapple sage in SoCal but haven’t ever seen it golden. So pretty. Thanks!

    • CL Fornari

      Glad I can be helpful, Cary!

  2. Anna

    I love your sense of color combinations, not the usual purple white pink pallette, but purple with hinges of bright colors, just like I saw in your other post: lavender agastache with dots of orange cosmos in the foreground. Like paintings

  3. Caatherine Loan

    I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring ever since you mentioned this verbena. It’s a beautiful color and being self seeding is a plus. I ordered a copy of Gardening from a Hammock which arrived yesterday. A fun, quiet read after the bustle of Christmas. It suggested this plant as being low maintenance. This warmer weather is a tease. I went out and turned the compost today. Felt great to be doing something productive for the garden. So the verbena will be my first nursery plant search come spring. Have a wonderful new year.

    • CL Fornari

      A happy New Year to you too, Catherine. I”m glad you’re enjoying Gardening from a Hammock!


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