A Versatile Plant with Endless Possibilities
Verbena is an attractive and versatile plant known for its vibrant, colourful flowers and ability to thrive in various environments. With its long-lasting blooms and drought tolerance, Verbena is a perfect choice for gardeners looking to add a pop of colour to their landscape.
Overview of Verbena
With over 250 species, Verbena plants are native to different parts of the world, including Europe, the Americas, and Asia. These plants are known for their striking clusters of flowers that bloom throughout the growing season, attracting pollinators such as butterflies and bees. The flowers of Verbena come in a wide range of colours, including blue, pink, purple, red, and white.
Planting and Caring for Verbena
To ensure the health and beauty of your Verbena plants, follow these
essential planting and care tips:
How to Plant
1. When planting, pick a spot with good air flow and at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
2. Dig a hole 6-12 inches deep and loosen the soil
3. Remove the plant from the pot, and untangle the roots if they're too tight.
4. Place the roots into the hole, ensuring it's level with the surrounding soil.
5. Fill the hole with soil and lightly press down to remove air
6. Water the plants regularly and space them 12-18 inches apart.
Verbena plants thrive in well-drained soil amended with compost but can adapt to various soil types. Avoid planting in compacted or clay soils, which can lead to root rot.
Verbena is drought-tolerant and prefers moderately moist soil. Overwatering can result in root rot or mildew. Water regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering times, and increase the frequency during prolonged heat or dry spells.
For optimal flowering, apply a slow-release all-purpose fertiliser according to the manufacturer's instructions or use a water-soluble fertiliser once a month during the growing season.
Deadhead spent flowers to encourage further blooming. Trailing and groundcover can be trimmed back during the growing season to promote fresh growth and additional flowers. Cut back the stem up to 1/4 of the stem length as needed.
Culinary Uses of Verbena
In addition to its ornamental qualities, Verbena has a long history of medicinal and culinary uses. Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora) is a popular culinary variety known for its strong citrus scent and flavour. Here are some ways to use Lemon Verbena in the kitchen:
Lemon Verbena leaves can be used to make a refreshing herbal tea with calming and digestive benefits. To make the tea, simply steep a few fresh or dried leaves in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, strain, and enjoy.
The citrusy flavour of Lemon Verbena can add a twist to a variety of dishes, including:
Salad dressings: Add chopped Lemon Verbena leaves to vinaigrettes for a zesty kick.
Marinades: Use Lemon Verbena as a flavourful ingredient in marinades for chicken, fish, or vegetables.
Desserts: Infuse Lemon Verbena leaves in simple syrup or custards to create delectable treats like sorbets, ice creams, and puddings.
Other Culinary Uses
Lemon Verbena can be used to make herb-infused oils, vinegars, and liqueurs, or as a garnish to add elegance to your dishes.
Companion Plants for Verbena
Verbena plants can be paired with various other plants to create stunning combinations in your garden. Some excellent companion plants for Verbena include:
Larkspur: The beautiful blue hues of Larkspur complement the vibrant colours of Verbena flowers, creating a visually striking display.
Petunia: Petunias and Verbena plants have similar growing requirements, making them excellent companions for hanging baskets and container gardens.
Snapdragon: Snapdragons add height and texture to a garden bed, making them a great companion for the low-growing Verbena plants.
Lemon Verbena - Frequently Asked Questions
Is Lemon Verbena an annual or perennial?
It is a perennial.
Does Lemon Verbena need full sun?
Yes, Lemon Verbena plants flower best when they receive at least 6-8 hrs in direct sunlight daily.
Does Lemon Verbena grow back every year?
It loses its leaves completely in winter and it then needs to be cut back. It will produce new shoots around early April. The plants need to be kept fairly dry over winter.
How long does Lemon Verbena bloom for?
Around 2 months from early June to early August.
In conclusion, Lemon Verbena is a beautiful plant that can add vibrant colour and texture to any garden. With proper care and maintenance, Lemon Verbena plants will reward you with months of stunning blooms and endless possibilities in your landscape and kitchen. So, why not incorporate this delightful plant into your kitchen or garden this season and experience the beauty of Lemon Verbena for yourself?