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PlantFiles: Purpletop Vervain, Brazilian Verbena, Upright Verbena
Verbena bonariensis

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Family: Verbenaceae (ver-be-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Verbena (ver-BEE-nuh) (Info)
Species: bonariensis (bon-ar-ee-EN-sis) (Info)

Synonym:Verbena patagonica

10 vendors have this plant for sale.

78 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Perennials

Height:
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Spacing:
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Purple

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Foliage:
Herbaceous
Velvet/Fuzzy-Textured
Leathery-Textured

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Flowers are good for cutting
Flowers are good for drying and preserving

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 54 photos.
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Profile:

25 positives
10 neutrals
5 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive outdoorlover On Aug 16, 2014, outdoorlover from Enid, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is a beautiful long lasting bloomer in our zone. This is the second season I've had it and no problems with reseeding itself. It came back this year from the roots. Lovely breezy plant.

Neutral yooperexpat On Apr 14, 2014, yooperexpat from Louisville, KY wrote:

got seeds last fall and have still to see any germinate. Sowed some in bare ground, some in pots and left outside over the winter in Louisville, Ky. Have sowed some in the house after seeds were in frig for a couple of weeks. Still nothing. Any info appreciated

Neutral yooperexpat On Apr 14, 2014, yooperexpat from Louisville, KY wrote:

got seeds last fall and have still to see any germinate. Sowed some in bare ground, some in pots and left outside over the winter in Louisville, Ky. Have sowed some in the house after seeds were in frig for a couple of weeks. Still nothing. Any info appreciated

Neutral coriaceous On Apr 6, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Airy, elegant, and long-blooming.

A pretty and useful self-sowing annual here in Boston Z6a. Self-sows a little too freely for my taste here, but though it routinely needs thinning, it's sometimes useful, especially in containers. I occasionally see a plant winter over, but it never flowers well in its second year.

The sparingly foliated stems make it a good see-through or "scrim" plant for the front of the border, when not too densely planted. The open structure means that in a container it forms a cloud of flowers, but has little architectural presence.

Powdery mildew often disfigures the leaves late in the season, especially in partial shade.

I know that this species is invasive in natural areas in the Pacific northwest and in the US southeast. I've never seen it naturalize here in New England. Check for regionally appropriate sources of information to know whether it's a problem for your local ecology---in the USA, your state Department of Natural Resources, and the USDA plants database.

Positive butterflyjoe On Jan 23, 2014, butterflyjoe from Naranja, FL wrote:

I have just purchased 2 plants in 10" pots and plan on using them in a newly established butterfly garden. In my region they will not be affected by winter. If everything I have read is true, I look forward to them overtaking my entire property, in fact if there were a field of them surrounding me it would be fine. The only plants I consider invasive are ones that take over and dont contribute to the benefit of the wildlife or crowd out more desireable species. This plant appears to grow with an open branching and airyness that wont be an issue.

Neutral riotbrrd On Aug 2, 2013, riotbrrd from Campbell, CA wrote:

Planted this on the edge of a lawn in Silicon Valley. The sprinkler over-spray seems to be causing powdery mildew on the foliage.

The plant was gorgeous and very tall in the spring, and the bees love it. However, by mid-summer it was seriously flopping over and looking a little ratty.

If I keep this one, I'll move it farther away from the lawn and see if that helps with the mildew and flopping.

Positive ncc3644 On Jul 6, 2013, ncc3644 from Houston, TX wrote:

This is without a doubt one of the very best butterfly attracting plants I have ever planted. Butterflies ignore my buddleia planted right next to it in favor of this plant. If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, this is the plant for you. It's airy nature is lovely interspaced throughout the garden. I love the fact that it reseeds in my garden - more plants to share with friends!!

Positive JenDion On May 23, 2013, JenDion from Litchfield, NH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Reseeder, yes, but seedlings easily removed. ATTRACTS BUTTERFLIES like nothing I have ever seen!! Won't be without it.

Positive laughingraccoon On Aug 23, 2012, laughingraccoon from Camp Creek, WV wrote:

I bought one of these plants this year, and I hope it self-seeds, as it is not listed as a perennial in my Zone 6b location. Not only is the plant beautiful, but it attracted a variety of butterflies. It also attracted a sphinx moth, and that is something I rarely see. The sphinx moth even stayed on it long enough for me to finally get a decent picture. I would love it for just that alone. I have it planted in a rock garden, so I should be able to pull up any unwanted plants if it gets out of hand. :-)

Positive sierra77 On Apr 9, 2012, sierra77 from Cedar Valley, OK (Zone 6b) wrote:

I bought one plant several years ago and have never been without them since. They have always come back from the roots and also reseed themselves. There were greater numbers of them the first couple of years but I have always been able to just pull out the plants I didn't need. Have never thought of it as an invasive weed because we have such difficult conditions here (Guthrie, OK) -- we have extremes of 0 cold or below in winter and last year had 70 days of 100+ temps with strong south winds and horrible drought. It just bakes everything above and below ground, the soil temps get so high. So anything this tough and beautiful (the butterflies just hang on it!) has a permanent place in my garden. If you have trouble getting them to survive winter, plant on the south side of the house. The ones I have there now just seeded themselves among pavers two years ago and they are 3' tall now and already blooming. They start in March or April and bloom til hard frost. They will even grow and bloom in partial shade here.

Neutral corgimom On Oct 13, 2011, corgimom from Pontotoc, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

Like many of the other southerners that have commented here, I like the plant BUT...... yesterday I discovered an entire field of it right next to my house. I am worried that the few plants in my daylily beds will become invasive. I am going to try to keep only one or two and pull up all others I see and I will still have more than I will probably want.

Positive mehitabel45 On Sep 4, 2011, mehitabel45 from Whidbey Island, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I certainly don't remember planting this, but it's slightly over 4 feet tall, looking like a strange candelabra with purple "flames" at the tips. I find it comical in appearance, and the bees just love it.
I may change my mind about it next year if it becomes invasive, but this volunteer was a pleasant surprise this growing season. I'll try to remember to deadhead before seed set.

Neutral egardens On May 22, 2011, egardens from Hutto, TX wrote:

Larger and I believe less invasive than Tuber or Stiff Vervain

Positive cntryrocks On May 12, 2011, cntryrocks from Princeton, KS wrote:

This does reseed for me, but not invasively so. Surprisingly, even after a cold, long winter, I had some of these come back from the root this year.

Positive kobwebz On Jun 9, 2010, kobwebz from columbia, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Love this, great floater in the gardenn.

Positive bellafiore On Jun 6, 2010, bellafiore from Brookfield, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

I planted a shrub border with one-gallon plants, so there was lots of space between the little shrubs. I planted v. bonariensis in between and put a lot of mulch down on top of weed barrier cloth. It filled in the spaces quite nicely without shading the shrubs. The verbena didn't overwinter and didn't reseed, either...probably because of the mulch. I replanted them again this year because the shrubs are still pretty small, but I will probably not plant them again next year, since I won't be needing to. But I love this plant, it's beautiful.

Positive robcorreia On Sep 25, 2009, robcorreia from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I absolutely love this plant! It self sows in my garden but it is always welcome, creating visual interest in unexpected places. Butterflies and hummingbirds are crazy for it too!

Positive spklatt On Jul 26, 2009, spklatt from Ottawa, ON (Zone 5a) wrote:

Here in Ottawa the National Capital Commission has been using Verbena bonariensis in concrete boulevard planters downtown for the past few summers, resulting in high demand (& short supply!) of seedling flats at local garden centers. It brings a lovely purple presence above the other plants, and copes well with urban conditions.

Negative crazymary On May 31, 2009, crazymary from Lodi, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Love the way it looks, but it is an aggressive reseeder. The seedling have popped up 20 feet from the original plant. Impossible to get rid of unless you pull the plants before they go to seed.

Negative pinke_paints On May 27, 2009, pinke_paints from Houston, TX wrote:

Although I appreciate it's value to Butterflies, it is an extremely hardy invasive non-native in the US. The US Forst Service lists it as a Forest Pest. Areas with hard and prolonged freezes may be able to keep it under control and from spreading to parks and preserves. I would not plant it in Houston - why bother, it's taken over acres here!

Positive Corby149 On Jun 25, 2008, Corby149 from Sequim, WA wrote:

Love this plant! It is definitely not invasive in my Olympic Peninsula garden [coastal Washington State] which admittedly tends toward pretty heavy clay soil. It's a very nice "see-through" plant to add some taller interest to the front and middle sections of the border. I let it grow wherever it decides to grace me with its presence.

Positive MaryinLa On Apr 20, 2008, MaryinLa from Marshfield, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is actually returning from the roots here in zone 6a after a pretty hard winter. It is not from reseeding, but actually from the roots.

Positive wrenbird22 On May 2, 2007, wrenbird22 from Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is awesome! I started with (3) 1 quart plants from the local nursery and the next year, I had hundreds of plants! It re-seeded in the nearby pasture and completely filled a 100 square feet area with purple blooms in late April, continuing to bloom all summer. The butterflies do love it. I plan on sharing some of the seeds with others this year.

Neutral sadie_mae On May 1, 2007, sadie_mae from Central, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant not only reseeds like crazy, it is also a perennial in my zone 6 garden. I've got some plants that are 3 years old, the old stems will die back to the ground in the winter and new growth comes back at the base every year.

Negative begoniacrazii On Dec 22, 2006, begoniacrazii from Northern California, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

While I find this perennial very pretty, it can self seed in droves! It loves our Mediterranean climate and though I thought I had eradicated it, the seed lay dormant in the soil for almost 4 years. I have it again! It comes back with a vengeance!

Neutral Marilynbeth On Jul 26, 2006, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:


One of the best plants for attracting Butterflies!!!

I've seen Hummers at it too.

Great plant, but I let it go to seed too much that I have seedlings coming up all over the place and now have been pulling up any that I see growing and get rid of them. I'm trying not to let it grow anymore in my yard.

Positive flamingonut On Apr 8, 2006, flamingonut from New Milford, NJ wrote:

While there have been complaints about this being a rampant reseeder, in my garden, the more it reseeds the better. Unlike other reseeders, the foliage is so sparse it looks wonderful coming up through other plants, whether they're shorter or taller! And while other plants may be spent for the season, these bloom just about until frost for me, and the butterflies love it.

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 8, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is actually surviving the winter here this year; I found a plant when I was cleaning out my beds the other day! I have heard that we are now unofficially zone 6, and my information says that Verbena bonariensis is hardy in zones 6-10. Other years it has just self-seeded itself. Stratification and darkness aid germination of seeds. Blooms July - October in my garden.

Positive Fleurs On Nov 9, 2005, Fleurs from Columbia, SC wrote:

Brazilian Verbena creates a lacey scrim giving the brightly colored plants behind them an air of mystery. After 3 years in my Zone 8 garden, I realize how neutral a shade the lavender flowers are, but the self-sown combination of this Verbena in front of purple-rose Cleome is an especially fetching color echo.

Perhaps the nutrient-poor sandy soil in their bed is the reason that Brazilian Verbena's spread has been modest. My original plants were winter sown. Seed is easy to collect and share.

Negative Araceae On Jul 25, 2005, Araceae from Woodstock, VT wrote:

Verbena bonariensis easily self seeds here in the Eastern section of the Green Mountains of Vermont (zone 4B). Its quirky, lacy charm is overshadowed by the frightening potential of seeding into nearby pastures and fields, making it less than desirable as a gardening choice in our rural areas. We planted one 4-pack of small plants three years ago and have had to pull out numerous plants each year that self seeded into fields nearby. Hispid stems make this task unpleasant. Perhaps even in an urban setting the pant might not be appropriate, because it could potentially establish in urban waste places and escape into the countryside in a wide range of climates. This species seems to adapt to most soils and the seeds can over winter even in our cold area.

Positive fluffygrue On Jul 14, 2005, fluffygrue from Manchester
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love this plant, despite it being currently 'trendy' in the media. The first year of growing, it only grew to about three feet, with a couple of flowerheads. The following year it's at about six feet and very floriferous, having overwintered happily in our thick British clay. Looks fantastic next to bamboo.

Neutral Monocromatico On Mar 11, 2005, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

Funny, I didnt know this species until recently, when I found some growing volunteerly on a road side near here. I guess it can become weedy under some conditions.

Neutral KDePetrillo On Oct 17, 2004, KDePetrillo from North Scituate, RI (Zone 6a) wrote:

I was told this plant was hardy to Zone 5, but they never come back after the winter (I've tried 3 times).

- Kathleen (NW Rhode Island)

Positive sarahm On Sep 18, 2004, sarahm from Belfast
United Kingdom wrote:

I live in Northern Irealnd and I would not be without this plant - it self seeds (a lot) in a gravel bed beside my pond, but it is easy to weed out from this. The butterflies love it (attracts peacock butterflies which aren't too common here). From last week (mid Sept), blue tits were hanging acrobatically from the flower heads - not sure what they were eating - there was up to 10 at one time - a truly beautiful sight. Added to this, it is always a much admired plant by garden vistors and there is always a self -seeded plant to give away. I wouldn't let it loose in a normal soil bed though!!

Positive frostweed On Aug 21, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love this plant too, because of the very bright flowers. It seems to glow.

Positive Brent_In_NoVa On Aug 20, 2004, Brent_In_NoVa from Sterling, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Verbena bonariensis has become one of the favorite plants in my (full sun, Northern Virginia) perennial bed. This plant starts blooming in late spring and continues all summer long. The small flowers are a wonderful neon-like shade of purple. The flower stalks shoot a couple feet above the main foliage making it rather unique, but also requires some thought on how to integrate this into your garden.

Negative kennedyh On Sep 8, 2003, kennedyh from Churchill, Victoria
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

In this area of Victoria in Australia, Purple-top Verbena has become an invasive weed, covering large areas of open ground and crowding out the native species. Pulling the plants is fairly effective control, but the prickly stems make gloves a must.

Positive AusTXpropagater On Sep 8, 2003, AusTXpropagater from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

In central to coastal Texas (zones 8-9), Verbena bonariensis behaves like a short-lived perennial. Like other plants adapted to semi-arid conditions, it needs to spread its roots far and wide; therefore, it quickly becomes pot-bound in a nursery liner (one gallon or less) and looks terrible in no time. I obtained my start for free from a nursery proprietor in Houston who saw me selecting homely orphan plants from the obscure back benches.

Most xeriscape specimens tend to look dreadful in pots but recover quickly in the ground. In my garden, that initial plant bloomed itself to death after a spectacular show over several months. It came back from seed the next season. Owing to the low germination rate of the minute seeds, I do not consider this plant invasive. Volunteers tolerate transplanting quite well. Hummingbirds and butterflies love this plant. Keep it well away from pathways -- you will find the leaves prickly-scratchy.

Positive darius On Jul 27, 2002, darius from So.App.Mtns.
United States (Zone 5b) wrote:

In my zone 6b, this is a self-seeding annual. The foliage is so sparse that I prefer to grow it through a shrub in order for the flowers stand out. The butterflies and bees love it!

Positive Terry On Mar 8, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

An erect, clump-forming tender perennial with stiff, widely branched stems, it can reach 3-6' in height with an open, airy spread of 1-3'. The airy, see-through habit of purpletop verbena makes it a good choice for the front or middle of a mixed border. Weave a line of purpletop verbena through a bed or border of other butterfly flowers.

Best planted in columns or masses because it is so thin it will be overlooked all by itself. Will freely self-seed if not deadheaded.

I've had this plant in my garden for two years - a quart-sized pot has overwintered, as well as re-seeded nicely. A keeper!

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Arroyo Grande, California
Berkeley, California
Calistoga, California
Fairfield, California
Fullerton, California
Martinez, California
Merced, California
Mission Viejo, California
Modesto, California
North Hills, California
Richmond, California
Rohnert Park, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California
San Jose, California
Santa Clara, California
Denver, Colorado
Brooker, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Hawthorne, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Naples, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Sorrento, Florida
Wauchula, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Brunswick, Georgia
Buford, Georgia
Douglas, Georgia
Anna, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
La Grange Park, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Greenville, Indiana
Derby, Kansas
Lansing, Kansas
Princeton, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky (2 reports)
Prospect, Kentucky
Salvisa, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Bossier City, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Oxon Hill, Maryland
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
North Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Lake Orion, Michigan
Marietta, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Pontotoc, Mississippi
Kansas City, Missouri
Marshfield, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Hudson, New Hampshire
Litchfield, New Hampshire
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
New Milford, New Jersey
Bridgehampton, New York
Wallkill, New York
Concord, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Mooresville, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Barberton, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio (3 reports)
Columbia Station, Ohio
Defiance, Ohio
Dover, Ohio
Hamilton, Ohio
Enid, Oklahoma
Guthrie, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2 reports)
Clackamas, Oregon
Dallas, Oregon
Mill City, Oregon
Portland, Oregon (2 reports)
Salem, Oregon
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Indiana, Pennsylvania
Lansdowne, Pennsylvania
Mc Kean, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Columbia, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Maryville, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas (2 reports)
Austin, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Belton, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Fate, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Frisco, Texas
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas
Hutto, Texas
Lockhart, Texas
Rockwall, Texas
Rowlett, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Wells, Texas
Dammeron Valley, Utah
Ogden, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Woodstock, Vermont
Alexandria, Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
Palmyra, Virginia
Sterling, Virginia
Freeland, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Langley, Washington
Port Townsend, Washington
Seattle, Washington (2 reports)
Sequim, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Camp Creek, West Virginia
Brookfield, Wisconsin



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