Friday, August 31, 2007

Versatile Verbenas

Verbenas are my reliable "fill-ins" for color when autumn arrives and perennial blooms are beginning to be a little tired looking. Every year I buy about 2-3 flats of these little gems and scatter them throughout the gardens. These are annuals called "Serenity Mix." Love the name too. I can use plenty of that about now. This year I was disappointed to find that most of the seedlings were rather tall and lanky, where they are usually small and compact - just right for planting. I was concerned when they seemed to struggle this year, but I think I just forgot how they love the hot weather and really don't come into their own until late summer and early fall...which makes them perfect, as far as I'm concerned. Right now they are beginning to spread and produce more blooms. By the end of the season some of them will have filled in a good two feet. I usually don't take the time to deadhead them (which gives them a one-up on petunias), but if I happen by with a grass shear I will give them a little trim. This produces more blooms, but these little gems are happy to bloom away, however much neglect they receive.
Another GREAT thing about the verbenas is how they attract butterflies way into the fall when other plants have stopped being much of a food source. Especially the Painted Ladies. So, if you are looking for a very well behaved, versatile, and happy little bloomer, verbenas can't be beat.

They go well in rock gardens too. Here with Corsican Violas and Victoria Blue Salvia.


The Serenity Mix has beautiful pastel colors

I love this combination of Bubble Gum Petunias, Violas, and Verbenas


Here they love to weave in and out of California Poppies


And they love to snuggle under most any perennial...May Night Salvia

Easy to care for and very drought-tolerant. You can't ask for much more from this pretty plant.

Here it is finally(!) beginning to do its little "spread" thing. It will easily get to 1 1/2 - 2 feet wide.

Next year I may try these flowers from seed. I would like to see what happens if I direct-sow them.

8 comments:

Connie said...

Ya gotta love plants that will bloom this time of year! I am trying to increase those types in my garden. Even the coneflowers are languishing now. Thanks for sharing...will have to try these next year!

LostRoses said...

Bev, you've highlighted another of my favorites and you've reminded me that I really should plant more of them. At first I thought I loved the bubblegum petunias and verbena photo best, then I saw the California poppies and verbena...well, they're all marvelous!

This was my firt year for the tall verbena bonariensis. I love its airy stems as a backdrop for any plant!

Marie said...

Beautiful!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Lovely post on one of my favorites Bev! I do so love all verbena's: the annuals in all their beautiful colours that flower for such a very looooooooooonggggg time, but also the verbena bonariensis and the verbena hastata. Butterfly magnets, each and every one of them.

Dirty Fingernails said...

i love verbena as well. My fav, is the staple Homestead.. You couldn't kill if it you wanted too.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Lovely! Can you please please please tell me what the lacy, dark-purple flowering one in the last picture is called? I bought one this year at the garden center and love it, but the plant tag was a generic "verbena" one and I just love this variety so I want to look for it next year.

(Are you sure that salvia is 'May Night,' by the way? With the purple stems it looks more like 'Caradonna'--I like 'Caradonna' better for just that reason.)

Bev said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. As I explained in the next post, I've been working (gotta get the dough for more plants you know) and will respond soon.

Bev said...

I'm glad to learn that so many other garden bloggers enjoy verbenas as much as I do. The one in the last photo is from the generic mix called "Serenity Mix" which I get every year at the nursery. I love homestead purple but for some reason have had trouble over-wintering it. I planted another this year so...we'll see.