London (change)
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24/06/2012 at 19:13

I know it seeds itself, and it has, but being a tender perennial as an insurance I've tried to grow it from packet seed myself the last 2 years. Not a one germinates- Zilch! Mrs P says in her review that it grows easily, so Mrs P can you give me advice on how you did it please? Or can anyone else who's grown it from a packet?

If I was queen of the world it would be compulsory to grow this plant

24/06/2012 at 19:45

I grew some from a packet of seed and they took a hell of a long time to germinate.  When they did germinate they didn't do very much until I put them in a border.   I thought I'd used a bad seed compost but I've heard a lot of people say they have had trouble.

The plants have surprised me in their hardiness as well, earlier this year we went down to minus 15 but all of my verbena bonariensis survived, great plants.

24/06/2012 at 19:55

Same here.  We had a terrific frost following a hot spell which followed 3 weeks of snow back in Feb/March and I lost loads but the Verbena B's still popped up everywhere despite being slightly tender.  

My garden book says you should sow the seed in early spring in a heated greenhouse and cover the seed finely with compost and then black polythene until they germinate.  Haven't tried that myself since I get loads of little plants appearing in the spring and I just dig them up and put them where I want them.




24/06/2012 at 20:04

Thanks both of you, this gives me hope. I'll try the black polythene next year. I do have them self-seeding in the garden, but now it's a case of defeating the failure of the packets!

24/06/2012 at 20:08

Sow seed from your existing Verbena plants in early spring in multi-purpose compost, covered with grit.  Water from below and keep in a sheltered, partially sunny spot.  Seedlings appear after approx 3 weeks.  Wait til approx 2" high then pot on or put in borders. 


Good luck!

24/06/2012 at 20:56

I absolutely love VB.

I have a tray of seedlings taken from last seasons plant that I'm about to pot up, my question is will they flower this year or am I going to have to live in hope they survive the winter and flower next summer?

24/06/2012 at 21:06

It is as tough as old boots. Cannot say we have ever lost one and believe me this is a COLD garden. We have had frost as late as July and as early as September. Did not lose any over the really terrible winter 2 years ago. And as for self seeding, they are worse than Cleavers.

24/06/2012 at 21:18

And to answer the OP (like I should have done in my first post )  I just used a seed tray scattered the seed over the surface of some compost, covered that with vermiculite and firmed it down. I left the tray in a not particularly sunny spot open to the elements and gave it no attention what so ever.

This probably isn't the best advice but it's worked for me.

24/06/2012 at 22:04

Old boots is right, i potted a load of seedlings up last year into 1lt pots planted what i wanted, gave a load away, had about 20 plants left in pots going into winter, i'd put them in a tomato grow bag tray which filled with water and froze solid, all came up this spring??? They do need a lot of water thou, drying out seems to be the only way to hurt these plants

25/06/2012 at 13:09

i must admit i had no trouble frowing mine from seed.. as stated above sow in spring.. just keep warm and they will grow.. most of mine did.. and they flowered next year..

25/06/2012 at 17:39

@Leggi - Mine flowered same year I sowed so you should get some!

25/06/2012 at 21:01

I sowed some packet bought seed in about early May this year. I sowed them in a tray of seed compost in my unheated greenhouse. It was about 3 weeks before anything appeared,but now they are growing well. Perhpas I should have sown them earlier in the year?

25/06/2012 at 21:12

I sowed some packet seeds on 13th May and nothing happened for 4 weeks. They are very slow growing and they are still only about 1cm high. Could be that wretched seed compost. I dare not prick them out yet as they are only just getting their 2nd leaves. At this speed I doubt I'll get flowers this year unless they get a move on!

25/06/2012 at 21:29

I have loads in the garden, and give loads away,too.  I grew them originally from seed many years ago - so long, that I can't recall exactly when, but I don't remember having had a problem with germination.

I agree with others - once established, they are as tough as old boots, spread seed everywhere, and the seedlings can be pulled up, potted up, re-planted anywhere and they just seem to thrive. 

27/06/2012 at 01:23

I sowed a packed of these some time at the same time as some oxe-eye daisies.  I remember having some trouble getting one or the other to germinate and read up on them.  I ended up popping the seed tray in the fridge for a 5 days (this simulates the effects of a frost on the seeds and can help with many wild flower seeds) after which they germinated fine.  The problem is I can't remember if it was the verbena bonariensis or the oxe-eye's!!!!

27/06/2012 at 16:35

I also love VB and grow it every year but I have to say it has never self-seeded in my garden, the soil being heavy clay. I've never sown seeds but had success with cuttings some years ago. I put some in a pot on a window sill, covered with a plastic bag and in no time the roots developed. This thread has reminded me to do it again this year and to also put my very difficult to germinate wildflower seeds in the fridge first!!

27/06/2012 at 19:29

Now that we've had a warm few days my tiny seedlings are growing fast. Must pot them on and keep them away from the hundreds of snails.

27/06/2012 at 22:13

Well Doris after you said they were slow to grow I went back and looked at the pot. Nearly had to get the magnifying glass out but yes there are 2 very small, but definitely VB seddlings coming through!

14/07/2012 at 11:54

I don't know if it's the affect of the horrendous rain, but all my VB's this year are standing ramrod straight, it's as if they are all standing to attention but the other thing is the flower heads are towering over me!  They are huge!

17/07/2012 at 22:57

My VB self seed all over the garden. Every time I go to the garden centre I see them for sale for up to £4. a pot. I must say it makes me feel rather smug I must have several hundred pounds worth! The tallest has reached approx 6ft 6", I have never had such tall healthy plants. I too have given numerous plants away.  I noticed today that next years crop are about 6" tall ready to be transplanted or potted up. Plants for free, you can't beat it.

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