Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Vervain, Simpler's Joy
Verbena officinalis

Family: Verbenaceae (ver-be-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Verbena (ver-BEE-nuh) (Info)
Species: officinalis (oh-fiss-ih-NAH-liss) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral kbjanet2003 On Mar 28, 2013, kbjanet2003 from mid-Michigan, MI wrote:

This plant does not grow well for me and is definitely not perennial in mid Michigan. I grow many herbs and other plants as I work for a botanical garden. I think our space for it is unsuitable due to some amount of shade and dry soil, but I am required to "grow" it every year in this particular space in our Michigan garden. I predict it loves moisture-retentive soil and lots of sun. Also, probably a good amount of fertilizer or soil amendment. I never get the plants to grow much more than a few inches, and when they do grow they flop on the ground. The flowers (blue as they are) are tiny and actually insignificant in comparison to other blue summer flowers I can grow in Michigan.

I would love to try it as tea, but as I mentioned it doesn't grow for me. I have no problem getting the other native verbenas to grow with vigor, such as hastata, stricta and urticifolia.

While Dave does not mention this, drinking too much of the tea could have negative effects. I would definitely NOT drink the tea if pregnant or breast-feeding or if taking any type of heart medications.

Positive janineb On Jul 29, 2009, janineb from zwolle
Netherlands wrote:

I am very surprised that so few people grow Verveine: it's an easy going plant that only needs some sunshine to thrive, and the tea you can make with it tastes great. They drink it in France all the time.

Neutral Baa On Aug 7, 2002, Baa wrote:

A herbaceous perennial thought to originate in Southern Europe through to China but has been widely grown for thousands of years by many cultures.

Has mid-green, slightly hairy, lobed, almost diamond shaped leaves (which I once heard described as like elongated Oak leaves). Bears tiny, lilac, 2 lipped flowers with a larger, 5 lobed bottom lip, borne on slender flower spikes. The flowers open from the bottom of the spike first. It rarely has more then 4 flowers open on the spike at any one time so it's quite inconspicuous unless you look for it.

Flowers June-October but may open as early as April.

Loves a well drained, fertile soil in sun or partial shade.
A great wildflower garden subject, the tiny flowers look to me like tiny floating ghosts rising out of the grass. It's also a useful medicinal herb with a very long history.

Once considered a very sacred herb. The druids supposedly introduced it to the Romans (but I doubt that). The Romans so venerated the plant they even held an annual festival in honour of it called Verbenalia. Roman brides also wore the flowers at weddings as it was sacred to the goddess of love Venus. The ancient Egyptians believed the flowers sprang from Isis' tears and it was widely used by many cultures in purification rites, as a prophesy herb, protection against disease and witchcraft, and as a female aphrodisiac. The druids also held it in such high esteem that they would only gather the herb at the rising of the Dog Star, when neither sun nor moon was above the earth (so they didn't see the herb collecting) and replace the now absent plant with a honey comb to amend the wrong of robbing the earth of such a sacred plant. (What a palava!)

In more recent times, Vervain's efficacy has proved to be much more than a superstition steeped in mystical rites. It makes an excellent nerve tonic and is used in the treatment of nervous disorders, epilepsy, some respiritory problems such as whooping cough, urinary tract problems, sedetive, detoxification, as a digestive, a cooling wash for mild fever, sore throats some skin complaints like eczema and for bringing out bruising. This incomplete list enables us to see why it was held in such high regard by our ancestors!

It can also be used as a refreshing eye tonic and suprisingly it was one of the first commercial hair tonics.

As with all herbs it should be used with CAUTION and, in my view, always under the direction of a qualified herbalist or homeopath. Pregnant women should NOT use it as it is a uterine stimulant.


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

Lutz, Florida
Plainfield, New Jersey
Austin, Texas
Midway, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas

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