Verbena bonariensis -

The Verbena bonariensis is an autumnal Godsend, and I mean that for two specific reasons. It comes into full flower when most other plants are busy producing seeds, and it is an excellent source of nectar for those pollinating insects brave enough to venture into the cold and blustery autumn weather.

Verbena bonariensis -
As ideally suitable as it appears to be in our northern European gardens, Verbena bonariensis is a long way from home. This tall and slender-stemmed perennial is in fact a native of tropical South America where it grows throughout most of the warm regions, from Colombia and Brazil to Argentina and Chile.

It can grow to an impressive 6 foot tall, and can spread up to 3 foot wide.

The stem is unusual in shape in so far that it is square with very long internodes, and at maturity, they will develop a surprisingly woody base.

The fragrant lavender to rose-purple flowers are produced in tight clusters located on terminal and axillary stems, and will bloom from midsummer until the first of the autumn frosts.

The flowers are not only attractive to gardeners, they are very attractive to butterflies, and provide nectar for native bees and many beneficial garden insects.

The leaves are ovate to ovate-lanceolate with a toothed margin and grow up to 4 inches long.

How to grow Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis -
Verbena bonariensis will grows best in a well-drained soil, in fact once it has established it root system it can be considered to be is positively drought tolerant! However newly planted and pot grown specimens have a habit of drying out so generous water will be required in these circumstances.

It can be grown in any fertile soil, adding manure or peat into the soil before planting. Verbena bonariensis prefers full sun to partial shade and an open position. It has a reputation of rarely being attacked by insect pests, but may be susceptible to powdery mildew.

Protect the root system over winter with bracken, ashes or coarse sand. In colder regions the root-ball can be lifted and stored on boxes of soil in a frost-free environment. Just make sure that the roots do not dry out.

It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

For related articles click onto:
The Monkey Puzzle Tree - Araucaria araucana
Why has my Lavender turned Woody?

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