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Do you cut back purple verbena?

Updated April 17, 2017

Purple verbena, a moderately fast growing perennial sometimes grown as an annual, blooms profusely on a low-growing, bushy plant. It makes a beautiful border edging, spilling over a rock wall, or softening the edge of a sidewalk or path. Verbenas require well-drained soil, and prefer moderate summer climates; blooming wanes during very hot weather. Although purple verbena tolerates cutting back, it's important to know when to trim, and how much trimming is appropriate.

Cutting Back to Stimulate Blooming

Cut back purple verbena if blooming wanes in midsummer. Trim a quarter of the height and width of the plant using grass cutters or scissors. Then, water the purple verbena thoroughly, and apply liquid fertiliser diluted to half the strength recommended by the manufacturer for standard use.

Cutting Back in the Spring

Cut back the tips of the stems of your purple verbena in the spring to encourage branching. You'll have stockier, bushier plants with more blooms as a result. Water the plant thoroughly and apply fertiliser to further encourage growth and blooms.

Cutting Back in the Fall

If the purple verbena begins to look shaggy and unkempt in the late fall, trim it back very lightly to neaten the appearance. However, avoid cutting it back severely; the shocked and dehydrated plant will be weakened going into the winter. Water the purple verbena thoroughly after a fall trimming to help the plant recover and prepare for winter. If your purple verbena reseeds itself, and you want it to continue to do so, avoid removing most of the spent blooms in the fall trimming. The blooms will produce the seeds that will insure new seedlings for next spring.

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About the Author

Gretchen Maron has written content for journals, websites, newspapers, radio news and newsletters, ranging from the International Horn Society journal "Horn Call" and the Air America Radio website, to non-profit organization websites. A librarian for over 30 years and a professional writer since 1996, she's an experienced, knowledgeable researcher.