Verbena bonariensis, my favorite of the week

Verbena bonariensis

I have come across several who hate it, but let me tell you why Verbena bonariensis is a favorite of mine. I first saw it in a magazine article about Christopher Lloyd’s garden after he tore out all the roses and went tropicalisimo. There the great man stood in a bright purple shirt, surrounded by flaming red cannas and a flurry of purple polka dots that turned out to be the flowers of the plant in question. I’m a sucker for really tall plants and these definitely qualify. Far from needing to be relegated to the back of a border, these form a kind of scrim through which the plants peeking through gain perspective and look even better. Let me demonstrate:


It looks good with a light green background,


or against dark, winey foliage.


It even perks up this uninteresting dark cement wall.


In some lights it looks almost pink (Grace, are you with me?) but it’s really purple, I swear.


True, it is a prolific seeder. I suffer through the weeding, but one could get around it by deadheading (if you choose to do this, the plant will continue to make more flowers right through to frost). Thankfully, the young plants come out with a gentle tug.


Loree has a surprise favorite for you over at Danger Garden. Like all of her surprises, it’s a pleasant one. But wait! There’s more! Loree has posted another favorite here.

19 thoughts on “Verbena bonariensis, my favorite of the week

  1. Great plant. After seeing in featured on several blogs, I planted it in my newish garden this year and it has quickly become a favorite here as well. I hope it prolifically reseeds in my garden as I need all the help I can get to spread the flowers around.

  2. Ricki – I’m with you on the loving side. I don’t have any in my garden yet, but I do have a bag of seeds from a year ago that never made it into the ground. Do you think they’re still good? I think they are wonderful, and they look spectacular against your acanthus. I imagine they make great cut flowers too? So pretty!

  3. Shirley~I’m betting it will perform well for you and become a nice counterpoint for your hot colors.

    Scott~Doesn’t it just? It’s like an Easter egg hunt, looking for where it will turn up next.

    Anna K~I can give you plants if your seeds don’t take. Haven’t used them very much in bouquets, but that’s a good idea.

    Linda~Never fear: once you have it, I’m pretty sure you have it for life.

    Mark & Gaz~Well, Mr Lloyd must have started with you Brits before stretching his influence across the pond.

    Loree~I can see it in the Danger Garden.

  4. I plead guilty to hating it (VB, that is). Although it looks much better in your yard than it does in mine, so I can see why you love it. You definitely have placed it better than I did. I think it needs to be in a large garden, or at least a space with a large garden as a backdrop.

  5. I love this one. Good thing–every plant I’ve gotten from scott (which number up to a lot) inevitably sprout VB. I love watching the hummingbirds fight over it.

  6. Sarah~I remembered your post about it (that’s where the “some people hate it” part came from). I definitely enjoy some things here that would be disasterous in a small space.

    Lost~Oh dear, what can the matter be?

    Heather~Our hummers are hooked on fuchsias, so the bumbles get the VB to themselves.

  7. I love it too! It’s just so understated and ‘natural’ isn’t it. I feel odd describing a plant as natural since all plants are but this is different to your frilly froo froo type of contrived plants isn’t it. I love your new word – tropicalisimo !!! 😀

  8. Anna B~Glad you agree. Fluffy plants work well for many, but not for me. Just wait: as soon as I make a statement like that I am sure to fall for something that fits that description.

  9. that does perk up the cement wall. What I need help with is what might look nice against the beige vinyl siding in my side yard. Any ideas? i know you can help! I have mostly veggie garden there but some pretty tall oriental lilies. I never take pics of them b/c they look really dumb against the siding. Maybe I need to go with something a little more natural like a grass or something… hmmm… thanks for the inspiration here!! I may have figured it out and you didn’t even need to say a word. ha ha!!!

  10. If you don’t mind a plant actually clinging to your siding, Hydrangea petoliarus is nice. Also Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’ plays well with lilies.

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