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Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis is a mouthful of a name for a versatile, tough perennial plant.  It's a South American native that's naturalized itself in some southern states.  It's not fussy about soil and likes full sun up north.  A half day of sun is enough to keep it blooming throughout the summer in the southern states. 

It can be tall, 3-6 feet, but is so open that even planted in groups, it doesn't restrict the view of the back of the border.  The lilac/purple flower clusters are only about a quarter to a half inch across and seem to float above other plantings on stiff stems that branch in all directions. 

Since it's a see through plant, you can locate it near the front or in the middle of the border.  Use it as a filler flower.  The leaves are narrow and susceptible to downy mildew, but this doesn't seem to hurt its survival.  Put it behind other plants and it's problem foliage won't be noticeable. 

All V. bonariensis needs now is a catchy common name.  It is sometimes called tall verbena.  That name just doesn’t seem to do such a versatile plant justice.

(Pronunciation:  Vur bee' na   bun are en' sis)

 

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