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katyajini

OT Verbena bonariensis

3 years ago

I discovered this plant last year and got a few from Annie's Annuals this year. To me it looks so nice and seems to create what I have in mind. But I hear it is a short lived perennial.


If I plant it this season

a)will it come back for several seasons? Assuming it is hardy where I am (it is) and I take good care of it.

b) typically how long does it live? Will it just disappear from where I planted it?

c) can one divide the clump/crown after a couple of years, or so?

d) how do you pinch it early in the season to get more branching?

Thanks!!!!

Comments (109)

  • 3 years ago

    V. bonariensis is very pretty!

  • 3 years ago

    @four, are your seedlings growing outdoors in the garden or in pots under lights?

    If outdoors, has your weather been wet?

  • 3 years ago

    Outdoors, sunny, periodic sprinkly rains. Potted, rich loose soil, moisture amount ideal.

  • 3 years ago

    In the Netherlands V. bonariensis survives the winters. My brother-in-law had one growing in front of a white wall. He tied it up here and there, and in the end he had a very unusual angular 'climber' there. I still regret not taking a picture. It is gone now, but while it lasted it was fabulous.

  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Regarding the color of my V.b. plants, commented above, I can report that the cause is the growing medium.

    For everything that I grow in containers, the medium is my compost. Excellent results, by the way. I had forgotten the light green leaves of the first plants (milkweed) that I grew in compost., forgotten because leaves of other plants have been of normal color.

    Soon after I plant these V.b. into the ground, they begin to darken; and they continue to expected color. Thirty of them, few by few over a long time. None ever darkens while in the compost. Other conditions practically identical in both locations.

    (Yes, we are left asking ourselves: why some kinds of plants and not other kinds.)

  • 3 years ago

    Are there ever blooms when it is not tall? (either before becoming tall, or after cutting before returning to tall)

  • 3 years ago

    Mine do a few lower blooms but the plants leans in all directions so it kinda fills out at all heights anyway

  • 3 years ago

    Thanks. Are the lower blooms at top of lower plants, or are they blooms on lower parts of tall plants?

  • 3 years ago

    From what I remember they ate just blooming on side stalks of the stems that eventually grow tall.

  • 3 years ago

    mild z7

    they overwinter plus reseed freely in our region


    mine a semi-feral,

    grow about 4 feet tall


    very transparent

    few leaves (2 at each node)


    as mentioned before they keep growing

    produce shortish side branches on which they flower


    sometimes I prune them back hard mid season because there are too many or they fell apart


    and they just regrow

  • 3 years ago

    Bump OP's question about branching.

  • 3 years ago

    Very recently I cut all of them down to 3rd or fourth node from ground, in order to force branching.


    Then I trimmed the cuttings, which I am rooting in water :


  • 3 years ago

    Any reason not to uproot the dried plants? (They flowered.)

  • 2 years ago

    Last year was my first summer with verbena bonariensis, I had sown the seed in early February and plants took their sweet time coming into bloom, this year had started them a month earlier and they were budding up two months ago and have been putting on quite the show ever since! They really look best in groups of three or more, wonderful striking, yet airy plants!!


    Looking good there Rouge!


  • 2 years ago

    I love these plants @FrozeBudd_z3/4.


    I now have had them for enough seasons that they come up naturally each spring from seeds dropped in the Fall and do flower by late July and then continuing.


    (I know you are in a lower hardiness zone than I but might this not be the case for you also?)

  • 2 years ago

    I used to have raised planter boxes on either side of my driveway, that I had stick verbena in. I would watch for it every spring. And when I would cultivate or dig to do any transplant, I always watched for the verbena seedlings that were about 1/4 high, very dark green leaves and plentiful. Same with an annual dark purple verbena, I think.... that came up each year and would be an excellent weaver no matter what was there. Great in vases too. Oh the years that have come and gone...sigh LOL Hmmm I should have seed somewhere in a cupboard...... Anyway my son is pulling in his semi now for grain hauling and needs the extra space at the entrance, and the planter boxes were about shot anyway....more sigh...LOL

  • 2 years ago

    I like your combination with the red, Rouge! Christopher Lloyd would have approved.

    When I was taking a picture of my own verbena, I heard a high, twittering sound: a little visitor had arrived!



  • 2 years ago

    What a great picture @gdinieontarioz5!

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    @FrozeBudd_z3/4 wrote: Last year was my first summer with verbena bonariensis, I had sown the seed in early February and plants took their sweet time coming into bloom, this year

    I have had VB in the garden for several years now. This year I made a mental note to be aware as to when the first blooms appeared. All the VB plants this season are self sown, seeds dropped in the previous Fall. And I see I got my first flowers on July 15.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    I just got back from the Netherlands three weeks ago. Already halfway June they were in full bloom everywhere. The difference when they survive your winter ;). Mine here are just in bud, no flowers yet.

  • last year

    Rouge, my self sown VB are above my waist height and budding up, will be awhile before putting on much of a show, the transplants though are starting to make a presence. My summers are on the short side, in warmer zones, no need to start these early, for me to get the biggest bang, best I do so.

  • last year

    Mine (unaticipated self-seed) completed a cycle : flowered, flowers dried, plants died.

  • last year

    When I grew it in Texas it quickly became too much of a good thing. It spread by seed, it spread by clumps, it seemed to able to sprout out of thin air, anywhere in the garden. It could grow a big tall clump from a tiny crevice in the concrete.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    Mine comes back every year, but i don’t know whether it is the same plant or from self seeding. It is an airy plant and goes well with roses, and different perennial flowers



  • last year
    last modified: last year

    >"big tall clump from a tiny crevice in the concrete" ___ Surely yours came from another planet.

    >"...thin air" ___ Now THAT would be a fitting name for mine; they have no substance. Never knew that flowers could float freely.

  • last year

    Mine come back every year from seed…with mildew! I really like them for the pollinatots but I’m over the disease. I’m ripping them out tomorrow

  • last year

    "I’m ripping them out tomorrow"

    Probably just as well! Verbena bonariensis is on the WA State Noxious Weeds Monitor listing, indicating that it has shown invasive characteristics in this area and its spread into natural areas is being closely followed.

  • last year

    Verbena bonariensis attracts more Monarch butterflies, year after year, than any plant in my New England garden. I also enjoy growing Verbena hastata, which attracts a few bees here and there.

  • last year

    Several times I have bought a four pack of v.b. for $3.99. Usually it self seeds. This year I didnt see any seedlings, so I paid $10 for two plants!! Anyway, a week or two passed and I know have probably 30 seedlings that I had not noticed before! I have seen a monarch or two in my Massachusetts garden every day lately, but mostly on coneflowers and butterfly bushes.

  • last year

    I've decided to start pulling my VB out as well! I'm tired of it getting mildew, the flowers aren't worth it. It does self-sow but less than the sweetgum tree, and both plants and seedlings are easy to pull out.

  • last year

    The butterflies love the Verbena bonariensis, but yeah, once you have one of that plant, you have thousands. I think they're very easy to pull out and that's what I do. I try not to let it get too crowded, so I just take hold of a handful of plants and tug. Voila! Instant plant thinning. I had an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and a Giant here today nectaring on the VB. Actually, the very first GST that I got here some years back was on the verbena. I keep it here because of the love the butterflies have for it, and I also have a 3 butterfly bushes here even though they're considered invasive in PA. I go around deadheading mine and keep a routine of it.


  • last year

    >"once you have one of that plant, you have thousands" ___ Let us qualify that, by adding : PROVIDED THAT you are in a favorable region. ( I am not.)

  • last year

    Verbena bonariensis attracts more Monarch butterflies


    Thought of your comment @Coneflower4 when I saw this guy this morning on a stalk of our VB:



  • last year
    last modified: last year

    UPDATE: July 2/2023

    As expected I have hundreds of VB seedlings...most only 12 inches tall or less. But each year I have a few that apparently survive the winter as they are way further along than all the others and flower so much earlier than the seedlings. This one or two showed flowers last week...that's really early.


  • last year

    They must be very well protected by something or other, Rouge. I have never noticed any surviving my winter. If I remember, I will cover a few with pine needles this fall. Maybe that will keep them alive. Btw, they were in bloom in the second week of June in the Netherlands...

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    It would be the underground part that survives. Yes, heavy covering this fall would increase your odds. I would be inclined to keep intact the above-ground stems, bent flat, even though they will die.

  • last year

    I use the pine needles a neighbour gives me to get Ajania pacifica through the winter. I just cover the whole plant, about a foot high, and it has worked for four winters. I will try the Verbena if I have enough needles and if I remember ;-).

  • last year

    Anyone try the Lollipop Verbena Bonariensis from Annie’s Annuals? I like the idea of a bit shorter version since everything seems to get bigger here than what the tags say.

  • last year

    Ajania pacifica through the winter.


    You know @gdinieontarioz5 that the AP that you gifted me is my fave Fall flower? Such neat flowers and cool foliage.


  • 11 months ago
    last modified: 11 months ago

    They are now in bloom "everywhere" in our garden. (IMO one of the hardest flowers to photograph.)



    (For the life of me I cannot get these plants to successfully self seed just beyond our property in a wild and woolly area of a public space. Each fall for several years I have dispersed seeds there and yet I have never have a seen a mature plant.)

  • 11 months ago

    Ha, I intentionally PULL the ones out of the more wild area here because I don't want them to get away and become invasive. In central PA (I'm also in 6A) V. bonariensis self-seeds very readily. The butterflies love it though so I continue to let it grow here, pulling all the extras out every year. If I don't, I think it would totally take over and crowd out all of my other garden plants except maybe the coneflowers. I don't have any other garden plants here that seed so vigorously, and I have a lot of different kinds of plants since I've been butterfly gardening since 2005. V. bonariensis is the very first plant that I saw my first Giant Swallowtail nectaring on. It's a great plant to have for them in the garden, but I control its spread and limit it to my garden and ONLY in the section that has been allocated for it.

  • 11 months ago

    Rouge, have you tried setting out a small start of VB? All you need is for one to take.

  • last month

    They must be very well protected by something or other, Rouge. I have never noticed any surviving my winter.


    Update May 2024


    I noticed this again this spring. I see "thousands" of VB seedlings but none are more than and inch tall...not even that and then here is one that is 6" tall with multi live stems, coming out of last year's stem...so this VB plant did survive the winter.




  • last month
    last modified: last month

    How do you do that? It is so nice! Your winters are colder than mine, and I have never had that. I have been digging around a lot this spring, I hope I will get a few seedlings. I have not noticed any yet.

  • last month

    Rogue, this is also my experience. My garden has lots of self seeders and I spend a lot of spring pulling cosmos, 4 o clock, snapdragons, hollyhocks, german chamomile. I just get a few of the verbena but they are a welcome sight and some always do survive winter.

  • last month

    I used to have it in my garden. It self -seeded so I don't know why it quit. I bought seeds very early this year and started them indoors. Some say it is fussy about germinating but I didn't do anything special to the seeds and they germinated and grew very well. I have put out a lot of little plants of it and they're all doing well so I'd say it's an easy, vigorous plant.

    Last year or the year before I bought a hybrid that branches more from the base. It got powdery mildew and we hardly ever get that on anything. But it did well later in the summer , survived the winter ok, and is blooming right now. It's shorter than regular verbena bonariensis. I don't see any seedlings from it.

  • last month

    I'm pretty sure I am now in zone 6b. I used to think I was 6a. I had it a long time ago and it disappeared. I don't know how I have it back again, but now I have it every year. And even in a raised bed, it came back from the base of last year's plant and I'm pretty sure I see seedlings too. I leave it in a wild zone but I don't want to put it in my cultivated beds. I think it would reseed too much and crowd other things out. I do enjoy it and don't want to be without it though. I'm always happy to see it back again. It is always late coming up and I start thinking it was killed by winter, but...then it's back.

  • last month

    These root easily from cuttings, I took several from plants I lifted and overwintered in the garage, the variety name slips my mind, though it's a bit more compact. Has been a very cool wet spring, the saved plants are growing s-l-o-w-l-y!