Verbena plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes. While some have an upright growing pattern, there are several that stay very short and spread quickly by creeping along the ground. These varieties are great for groundcover and will fill in an empty space very fast with delicate, low foliage and bright flowers. Keep reading to learn more about growing creeping verbena plants and using verbena as groundcover.
How to Use Verbena for Groundcover
While some verbena varieties grow as bushes that can reach 4 to 5 feet (1-1.5 m.) in height, there are plenty of other varieties that stay low to the ground. Some are trailing plants that spread along the ground. They put out creeping stems that root themselves easily in the ground and establish new plants. Others are just low-growing, upright plants that top out at about 1 foot (31 cm.) high. These plants spread out via rhizomes underground that put up new shoots nearby. Both of these styles are very low-growing and fast spreading and are great options for groundcover. When opting to use these plants for groundcover in the garden, plant them in triangular groups with about 12 inches (31 cm.) of space between them. Of course, this will vary depending on the available garden space, so take this into consideration. Knowing the total square footage can help determine the number of plants needed to fill the area, along with their spacing.
Popular Groundcover Verbena Varieties
Here are a few common groundcover verbena plants: Trailing Verbena - Formerly called Verbena canadensis, but now known as Glandularia canadensis, these creeping verbena plants make up a broad group that serves very well as a groundcover. Some popular cultivars are “Summer Blaze,” “Snowflurry,” “Greystone Daphne,” and “Appleblossom.” Rigid Verbena - Native to South America, these verbena plants spread quickly by underground rhizomes. They are very hardy and drought resistant. Some popular cultivars include “Polaris” and “Santos.” Prairie Verbena - Reaching only 3 to 6 inches (8-15 cm.) in height, this plant produces vivid, deep purple flowers. Peruvian Verbena - Under a foot (31 cm.) tall, these plants produce pink to white flowers that bloom all summer long. Goodings Verbena - These plants produce lots of lavender flowers in the spring. They need full sun and lots of water. Sandpaper Verbena - Producing deep purple flowers in the spring, these plants self-sow and spread by seed very quickly and run the risk of becoming invasive.
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The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.
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