Every year I look forward to seeing the two large patches of hardy verbena that I have at one entrance to my formal garden. I grow the cultivar ‘Homestead Purple’ every year and never cease to enjoy the vivid purple flowers especially against the crimson red of the climbing rose nearby called ‘Olive’. Since the rose blooms in waves and is not always in bloom and I plant crimson vinca to provide the same color throughout the growing season. This plan works well because the rose blooms early while the vinca is becoming established and by the time the rose fades after its initial flush, the vinca is ready to take over. Every year I wish that I could find a perennial to substitute for the vinca, partially because I am a plant snob and would like something more unusual in this role but, alas, I can not find anything I like as well that blooms as long and takes the heat and humidity without a problem. I also grow ‘Homstead Purple’ in a large pot in the middle of the formal garden and have tried it with various plants including ‘Marguerite’ sweet potato vine and ‘Wyoming’ canna. I have also used it as a ground cover when I needed a high impact plant to quickly fill a sunny spot.
Type: Herbaceous perennial.
Bloom: Purple clusters of flowers from spring until frost.
Size: 8-12” H x 24-36” W.
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Average, moist, well drained.
Fertilizer: Light application of balanced fertilizer in spring.
Hardiness: Zones 7-11.
Care: Water thoroughly during times of drought.
Pests and Diseases: None of significance.
Propagation: Cuttings root easily in average soil during the spring and summer; divisions from rooted prostrate stems.
Companion plants: Vinca, red centranthrus , red or gold barberry bushes, lantana, artemisias, lamb’s ear, dusty miller.