Verbena bonariensis | Tall Verbena
Tall Verbena, also called Purple Top, Purpletop Vervain, Clustertop Vervain, Slender Vervain, Pretty Verbena, and ‘The See-Through’ plant is a species which is native to South America. This tall striking heirloom is a verbena unlike any other with its 5-6 ft tall wiry, self-supporting stems that are crowned with numerous 2-3″ clusters of pinkish-purple blooms. The dark green leaves are very narrow and sparse, so the plants are remarkably light, open and airy, allowing neighboring plants to be easily seen. When planted in mass the clusters make a purple haze in a garden.
Being a short-lived perennial in zones 7+ and an annual in cooler states, Tall Verbena propagates itself by reseeding. It’s drought tolerant, hardy, has below-average water needs, and grows in a wide variety of soil types, from loam to clay. It’s ability to thrive in full sun or partial shade makes it a very easy beginner plant to grow. The blooming period is long, ranging from early Summer to late autumn. Deadheading will of course help to prolong the bloom time.
Sow seeds directly in the garden after the last frost date–no cold stratification needed. They can also be be fall-sown. Cover lightly. Germination can be sporadic and may take several weeks (until conditions are ideal). They germinate best with cool nights and warm days. If you want an earlier bloom, you can start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Again, providing cool nights and warm days will yield the best germination rates.
Verbena bonariensis is an irresistible nectar source for many butterfly species. You’ll find Swallowtails, Comma, Longwings, Fritillaries, Hairstreaks, Painted Ladies, Queens, Red Admirals, Sulphurs, and Checkerspots among the blooms. Hummingbirds and bees also can’t resist, while deer and rabbits aren’t fond of munching on it.
Tall Verbena is classified by herbalists as a plant with “cooling” tendencies, so verbena is commonly used for headaches or abdominal ailments, etc.
Makes a great cut flower.
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 3-6 ft
Mature width: 2-5-3 ft
Hardiness zones: 7- 10