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16 messages
06/09/2012 at 16:18

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/11469.jpg?width=300&height=350&mode=max

 I have seen this plant a few times in cottage gardens.  It is tall (about 3ft) with square stems and mauve flowers.  Does anyone know what it is please?

06/09/2012 at 16:26

I would have said that it looks like the very popular Verbena bonariensis.

And verbena does have a distinctive ridged square stem.

But verbena normally grows a lot taller than 3 feet, more like 5 or 6 feet, so perhaps this might be something else

06/09/2012 at 16:32

I would agree Verbena bonariensis, a lot of my self seeded ones have only got to 3 feet this year, they did not like the freezing June.

06/09/2012 at 16:34

It sounds right with the ridged square stem, I was standing a distance from it as couldn't get near so maybe it was taller although I doubt it was 6 foot - possibly 5?

06/09/2012 at 16:45

Yes, five is about right. That's what mine are like.

I'm not sure how well they hold themselves up. Those stems are quite strong. The square stem profile helps to make the stem strong, like an iron girder. But if they do snap or blow over that's a pity, so I stake mine, just in case.

They're quite popular with bees and butterflies too (but not as popular as buddlea).

06/09/2012 at 16:48

Thank you.  I have now ordered some seeds as I think they are perfect for a cottage garden.  Will take on board your info re staking stems.  When is the best time to plant the seeds?

06/09/2012 at 17:46

I actually sowed mine in Spring, a few years ago. I can't remember whether they flowered the first year.

The T&M seed catalogue does advertise verbena as first-year flowering perennials. That's reasonable because they do flower late in the year (now).

The T&M seed catalogue (2012 season) has an unusual footnote, just beneath verbena, saying that verbena seed is only despatched between March and May.

In nature, and this is probably true of self-sown seedlings, the seeds fall to the ground when the flowers have bloomed and the seed has ripened. I'm not sure exactly when that happens. Maybe in a few weeks time, or perhaps the seed stays on the plant through the Winter. They are flowering now, so this year's seed is obviously not ripe yet.

06/09/2012 at 19:28

Thanks for that Gary.  Will watch the local plants and see when they drop and sow accordingly.

06/09/2012 at 21:10

Thanks for the interesting thread  I've been thinking of getting this plant for a while now.

Some of the seed suppliers have said that they need a peroid of cold in a fridge to get them going. Gary- Was this your experience? I'm all for growing from seed, I can wait to see a result, but can't be doing with the faff of having to put them in the fridge before they germinate. 

I want to grow them as they attract bees & butterflies.

 

06/09/2012 at 21:24

I never did the fridge thing with my original batch I have lots of small seedlings appearing now, so they would not be from fresh seed, I am now curious why they only despatch over such a short period.

 

06/09/2012 at 21:49

Just go along to someone who has them in the garden in August/September and they will be happy to give you some of the hundreds of self sown plants. I thin them out to avoid being swamped.......

06/09/2012 at 22:34

Hi Kate, the fridge thing is step too far- just can't be doing it. So maybe I should go ahead and sow them anyway and see what comes of ti

06/09/2012 at 23:23
Hollie- Hock wrote (see)

Thanks for the interesting thread  I've been thinking of getting this plant for a while now.

Some of the seed suppliers have said that they need a peroid of cold in a fridge to get them going. Gary- Was this your experience? I'm all for growing from seed, I can wait to see a result, but can't be doing with the faff of having to put them in the fridge before they germinate. 

I want to grow them as they attract bees & butterflies.

 

I started mine in gritty compost in early spring (from seeds ollected the previous autumn) and did little else than watch them grow after leaving the seed trays in a shady corner of the garden. They pop up everywhere once you have them (which I like) and the bees, butterflies and moths absolutely adore them.

Once you have them you can either grow them from the seeds they produce or wait to replant their offspring (or both).

07/09/2012 at 05:50

Just thought I'd mention that there is a lower growing version of VB http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/perennials/verbena-bonariensis-lollipop/itemno.PL30002914/

I grow it at the front of a raised bank where the flowers of the usual VB would be way above my head. It's a really good plant; I only planted them this year so no idea if they self-seed true to type but they've grown into lovely bushy plants about 2 - 3ft tall and bloomed and bloomed all summer on a north-east facing bank, even with the weather we've had, and the bees love them of course. 

07/09/2012 at 08:21

There is a variety called Verbena Rigida that doesn't get as tall as Bonariensis, that one of the DIY chains sells. In every other aspect it is the same as Bonariensis, just not as tall.

08/09/2012 at 21:04

Sounds like a great plant to have, I will try growing it from seed. Thanks

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