Voluptuous Verbenas

Today was extremely cold which confirmed that my decision to remove our 7″ of snow from the gardens this past Saturday (thanks Bill!) was prudent!  We all hunkered down in the Horticulture Center for a wide range of tasks including processing lights from the Holiday Light Show (HLS), painting, carpentry and much more!  Our grounds staff of Terry, Big John and Cindy were joined by Kathy P., Alan, Dr. Gredler, Cathy E., Barb C., Ron Y., Jim, Dave, Steve J. and Dick H. for a productive morning.  We also had a meeting with our Horticultural Therapy Committee to discuss use of our new Wellness Garden and to plan for our Horticultural Therapy Symposium (August 6, 2019).

I thought this blog could use the promise of summer color by featuring some exciting verbenas (Verbena sp.) that offer lots of impact out in the gardens.  Nice shot above of Verbena Lascar™ Mango Orange.  While there are perennial verbenas and some other species and hybrids of taller verbenas, the focus here is on the nice compact and trailing forms of verbena which thrive in our sunny borders and containers.  Preferring well-drained soils, the wide range of these stalwart annuals (perennials in zone 8 and warmer) increases annually with some fun new selections.  Ideal for containers, baskets, window boxes and border plantings, these verbenas fall in to roughly the two categories of compact/upright and trailing.  Reaching heights typically around 6-12″, these plants are drought tolerant but may show some decline in the hottest and most humid portions of the summer.  Width is ultimately dictated by the habit so focus on trailing selections when utilizing them along container and wall edges!  Snipping back spent blooms (deadheading) will lengthen the overall flowering display in terms of vivid new growth that should extend well in to late summer.  Verbenas are deer resistant but can suffer from some insect and disease issues (mildew common) if stressed or lacking vigor.  We trim most of our shorter verbenas in mid summer with fertilizer application occurring immediately after the cutting.  Our verbenas, placed in well-drained soils that are kept moist, will have received five supplemental fertilizer treatments between June and August, frequent trimming and they are provided ample watering.  Below are just a smattering of some selections I’ve seen recently with all the photos taken at the Gardens at Ball (West Chicago,  IL) during their Customer Day in summer (2018)!  The photo at the top of the blog is Verbena Firehouse™ Grape.

Verbena Lascar™ Dark Violet

Verbena Cadet Upright™ Pink

Verbena Cadet Upright™ White

Verbena Cadet Upright™ Hot Pink Wink

Verbena Cadet Upright™ Lavender Blue (above and below)

Verbena Cadet Upright™ Purple

Verbena Cadet Upright™ Red

Verbena Firehouse™ Purple Fizz

Verbena Firehouse™ Pink (above and below)

Verbena Firehouse™ Grape

Verbena Firehouse™ Lavender

Verbena Firehouse™ Purple

Verbena Firehouse™ White

Verbena EnduraScape™ Pink Fizz (above and below)