VERBENA

This genus includes a number of showy bedding plants, also several neglected border perennials. The former are treated as half-hardy annuals. They are of spreading habit with close heads of bloom. Height about 1 ft. The colour range covers pink, scarlet, rose, cerise, lavender, mauve, violet and purple, some with white eyes. Sparkle is an unusually compact strain and Lawrence Johnston a vivid crimson. Among the border kinds Verbena bonariensis (patagonica) reaches 4 ft. and the thin stems bear close heads of deep lavender flowers. V. venosa (rigida) is deep violet-blue to about 18 in. There is a lilac form. V. corymbosa prefers a cool soil. It reaches 3 ft., and has dark heliotrope, fragrant flowers. This species spreads by underground shoots and is reasonably hardy, whereas the first two will not survive a hard winter. V. peruviana (chamaedyrfolia) is a dazzling scarlet, a creeping species which does best in full sun and thin soil. It should be given a sheltered position as it is not reliably hardy.

V. corymbosa and V. venosa can be increased by division in spring, but the other species are best propagated by cuttings in July. V. bonariensis sometimes seeds itself.

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