Is Verbena Annual Or Perennial: Perennial And Annual Verbena Varieties

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By Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

Verbena is a plant which is found all over the world and is full of history and lore. Also known as vervain, herb of the cross and holywort, verbena has been a beloved garden plant for centuries because of its long lasting blooms and herbal qualities. Trailing verbenas are a common sight in annual hanging baskets, yet they are also commonplace in native butterfly habitats. This can lead many gardeners to wonder is verbena annual or perennial? It is both actually. Continue reading to learn about annual vs. perennial verbena varieties.

Annual vs. Perennial Verbena

Verbenas are both long blooming annuals and perennials depending on the type. They also can range quite a bit in size and habit. Verbenas can be low growing, trailing groundcovers that only grow to 6-12 inches (15-30 cm.) tall or they can be upright plants reaching 6 feet (1.2 m.) tall.

Generally, the annual verbena varieties grow 6-18 inches (15-45 cm.) while perennial varieties can be low and trailing or tall and upright. Which type you choose will depend upon your site and preferences. Below are some of the common annual and perennial varieties.

Annual Verbena Varieties

Most annual verbena varieties are in the species Glandularia x hybrida. Some of the most popular varieties include:

  • Obsession Series
  • Quartz Series
  • Novalis Series
  • Romance Series
  • Lanai Royal Purple
  • Peaches and Cream

Moss verbena (Glandularia pulchella) are perennials hardy in zones 8-10 but because they are short lived, they are usually grown as annuals. Popular moss verbenas include:

  • Taipen Series
  • Aztec Series
  • Babylon Series
  • Edith
  • Imagination
  • Sissinghurst

Perennial Verbena Varieties

Rough verbena (Verbena rigida) – aka stiff verbena, tuberous vervain, sandpaper verbena – is hardy in zones 7-9.

Purpletop vervain (Verbena bonariensis) is hardy in zones 7-11.

Trailing verbena (Glandularia canadensis) is hardy in zones 5-9. Popular varieties include:

  • Homestead Purple
  • Summer Blaze
  • Abbeville
  • Silver Anne
  • Greystone Daphne
  • Texas Rose
  • Taylortown Red

Blue vervain (Verbena hastata) is hardy in zones 3-8 and native to the U.S.

How Long Does Verbena Last in the Garden?

All verbena needs to grow in full sun to light shade in well-draining soil. Perennial verbenas are heat tolerant and drought tolerant once established. They do well in xeriscape gardens.

Verbena is generally referred to as long blooming. So how long does verbena last? Most, annual and perennial varieties will bloom from spring until frost with regular deadheading. As, perennials, verbena can be a short lived plant, this is why many perennial verbena varieties are grown as annuals.

Most of the very showy flowering verbena plants are hardy only in warmer climates, so many northern gardeners can only grow these as annuals.

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