Trailing verbena care

Written by michelle wishhart
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Trailing verbena care
A butterfly enjoys a verbena flower. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Verbena canadensis "trailing verbena," also known as "rose verbena" or "clump verbena," is a spreading, sprawling herbaceous perennial characterised by dark-green foliage and flat-topped flowers in shades of purple and pink. Trailing verbena is commonly grown as a summer annual. It is used as ground cover, as edging and as a container plant.


Trailing verbena is a native of the southeastern United States, making it a suitable landscape plant for USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9. The planting site of the flower is crucial to its health. Plant in a bright, sunny location that receives eight to 10 hours of direct sunlight a day. Plants grown in full shade or partial shade will produce fewer flowers, and they are likely to succumb to powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.


Trailing verbena is not picky about soil pH, but it does require a well-draining soil. Water newly planted flowers frequently, enough to keep the soil moist at all times for at least the first few weeks. This will help the plant to create a strong root foundation. Water once a week once established. Fertilise monthly during the growing season with a complete, balanced fertiliser. You may need to fertilise verbena plants in sandy soils more frequently.


You can do serious pruning in the spring, followed by light pruning in the fall to maintain a neat, tidy appearance for your trailing verbena. Pruning too harshly in the fall can reduce the plant's tolerance of cold, lessening the plant's chance of surviving the winter. Verbena plants are short-lived in general, and they should be replaced every two to three years before the health of the plant declines. Trailing verbena often self-seed when cultivated in the proper growing conditions, producing new plants without any additional help from you.


If planted in a wet, shady location, powdery mildew may appear. Pests such as spider mites, leaf miners and thrips all commonly attack verbena plants. Mites can be controlled with regular applications of a commercial miticide mixed with washing powder, or with organic materials such as sulphur dust or insecticidal soap. If left uncontrolled, mites can quickly reduce plant vigour. Thrips and leaf miners can be controlled with a systemic insecticide.

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