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Purpletop Vervain
by Lynda Heavrin - posted 01/13/12

Verbena bonariensis ‘Little One’

I will never run out of plants to discuss as I love so many, but I asked my friends what they will be thinking about in January/February and in unison I heard “seeds.” So, an easy plant from seed it is — one of my favorites is Verbena bonariensis.

Unlike other Verbena species, this one germinates well, and, for better or worse, reseeds readily in the garden. It is a tall plant, up to 4 feet in good, well-watered soil, with beautiful pale lavender flowers that are attractive to butterflies and never need deadheading. The color and height fits well into annual beds as a background plant or into perennial planting designs as a filler, even among shorter plants.

Some might complain about the reseeding “quality” of Verbena bonariensis, but it is easily removed, and, at least in our Northern Indiana climate, has never become out of control. So as you are watching the snow and dreaming of summer flowers, pull out your seed catalogs and order some Verbena bonariensis seeds. It will be an inexpensive way to experiment and be creative in your garden.


Botanical Name: Verbena bonariensis

Common Name: Purpletop vervain

Color: Pale lavender

Blooming Period: Summer through frost

Type: Reseeding annual

Size: Up to 4 feet

Light: Full sun

Soil: Good garden soil with lots of organic matter

Watering: Provide a ½ inch of water per week. It is somewhat drought tolerant.

Fertilizer: Not a heavy feeder. Will perform well with feedings of a mild liquid fertilizer every three weeks.





Lynda Heavrin is the manager of landscape and horticulture at the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation in Fort Wayne. She can be reached at