Verbena bonariensis


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From 30 ratings

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Key information

Plant type

Tender perennial

Flower colour





Half hardy

Skill level


Verbena bonariensis

Plant details

Verbena bonariensis has tall, narrow, sparsely-leafed stems on top of which flattened heads of bright lavender-purple flowers appear in late-summer. It's perfect for bringing height to an ornamental border and also works well in prairie-style plating schemes with ornamental grasses. It's a superb butterfly plant, rivalling even buddleja.

Grow Verbena bonariensis in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Given the right conditions, plants will self-seed freely, but in colder regions they mau need protection from frost. Leave dead stalks to provide winter interest and mulch annually with well-rotted manure or compost. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its Award of Garden Merit.

Family: Verbenaceae

Genus: Verbena

Species: bonariensis

Plant type: Tender perennial

Flower colour: Lavender

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Moist

Hardiness: Half hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 150cm

Spread: 45cm

Time to plant seeds: March to April

Flowering period: August to October

Reader reviews


Easy to grow from seed and simply stunning - especially mixed with grasses such as Stipa tenuissima. The bees and butterflies love it and I'm looking forward to seeing where new plants will spring up in the spring from self-set seed. I love it!


I love this plant and once you have it it will seed freely. I like to plant it in the middle of a border as you can see through it and it looks stunning (well I think so) planted with orange varities of Crocosmia. As MrsP says it is also a fav of the butterflies and bees. I love it too!!


I planted this in two places and it didn't thrive. I don't think either spot had enough sun, and one was damp. Disappointed!

Rachel O'Hara

I planted this in clay soil in full sun and it grew beautifully.Grown towards the back of a border it provides height,and is so light and airy you are able to see through it to other plants.Bees and butterflies just love it.


its a plant id like but with it being a tender perennial i didnt bother with it but reading mrsPs review and that it self seeds i will grow it for next year thanks


Without a doubt my favourite plant. Although it's a tender perennial and has taken some time to establish - the first year I thought I'd lost it - once it begins to seed itself it seems to go from strength to strength. This year it's popping up in gaps all over my front border. Being so tall it doesn't crowd anything else out. It looks fab against Sambucus nigra Black Lace, and Cotinus Coggygria. I have the form Grace, but it would also work with Royal Purple. It gets lots of sun and is in moist, but well drained soil. A must if you plant for pollinating insects


A very graceful plant and a great pollinator for insects.


Absolutely swear by it each year


Beautiful in the evening it seems to glow. Last year it was 6ft high and 4 ft wide.
This year bought some plugs from ebay and they are growing tall on single stems, so snipped off the top 3in to make them bushier plants, and pushed the trimmings into the edge of the pot and now have many more new young plants in only 2-3 weeks!

Mary Canary

I love this plant ,it took a long time to get established in my garden,but now it self-seeds with
ease.Last year one evening at dusk I was watering & dead heading in my garden rapidly losing the light when one magical moment!! A moth fluttered down inches away & landed on the verbena bonariensis flowers,his/her proboscis was so clear to see drinking the nectar from these tiny flowers! Such a magical moment--It is SO important we grow these & other flowers with lots of nectar & pollen to help our little creatures in this wonderful world of ours.


Amazing plant - grew from a 30cm potted specimen to over 6ft in one season!
Great for filling in at the back of a border or raised bed, to give instant height - also nice that the flowers float on top of tall stems, letting lots of light through to the back.
I have mine in a mixed, raised bed, near a purple acer palmatum, with a white shrub rose growing alongside it and some pale pink anemones growing through the actual verbena - looks beautiful, if I do say so myself :-)



Janet 4

Just bought another one thank you. Will put it the sunnier border side and not the damp as I had hoped. All my plants are for the bees and butterflies. I have one thin, long bed full of meadow sweet, fennel and asters parallel to a lavender hedge. I have to be careful when I walk by as a cloud of bees rise up from the plants. I will not cut them back until spring, so insects can winter in the stems and birds can have any seeds.




Stunning plant hope it flowers this year it grew to nearly 6foot last year, but isnt overpowering as i have a small garden. I also had butterflys flapping around all summer, cant wait to see them again!


I just love this plant.Insects and butterfly adore this. Took stem cuttings and they all took.


It is in among our climbing roses - about 8' tall - TOTALLY sensational plant!


One of the most beautiful and useful plants. A gardeners dream.

Simon Lander

Are there different varieties? as some of mine have more hairy, lighter green leaves with more separate flower heads. sure they were from same packet of seeds. I don't like these as much

Anton 2

This is a fabulous plant! It adds height movement and colour without dominating in form or colour, can be used anywhere as long as it gets full sun, good drainage and as poor soil as you have. Avoid mulches, too much water and compost.
In rich soil it's likely to grow too tall and topple, a gravel bed is ideal. It doesn't like to be permanently soggy either, as long as its roots are established water only when the soil dries out.
Grows very well on uncultivated soils where it will often self seed, here it will be a strong and upright however it doesn't take heavy winds very well, the shorter V.B "Lollipop" is better.

For me this is one of those plants that defies the usual boring stereotyping like "cottage garden". It's so versatile. From wild meadow effects with grasses to very formal schemes where you want a uniform haze of subtle colour, or an impressionistic look. It also looks very stunning with a backdrop of chartreuse where the subtle colour will pop or mixed with white, enchanting with pale yellow, orange. Its lovely to play around with and is good in containers.

Five star plant!

Its an agricultural and environmental pest species in many countries, all the Verbenas are and you are likely to see it growing on road sides in many warm sub tropical to Mediterranean countries. Otherwise in more temperate climates its a short lived perennial that will either self seed or need replacing. They grow very easily by cutting, semi hardwood cuttings from the base.

glass half full

Top plant this one,easy to grow, but you do need the right conditions.As stated

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