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Verbena Bonariensis: The Purple Top Verbena


Verbena Bonariensis

The Purple Top Verbena

In late years, the Verbena Bonariensis otherwise known as purple-top verbena, one of the must-have patio plants, gets its popular name from the little cushions of purple flowers displayed at the top of its tall, rigid stems.

These stems can develop to be two meters high but are generally somewhat smaller. When fully bloomed, the seed contains purple flowers at the tips of each slim stem.

By late summer, the plant has created an open mesh of stiff stems and a haze of rounded purple flowers, with the stems expanding almost at right angles to the main stem. Independent flowers are small purple-pink tubes accumulated around a dome.

The genus Vernot verbena bonariensis is as widely used as purple tops’ common name. The horticultural name’s second part relates to Buenos Aires, and the flower can be found from Argentina to Brazil.

It is a plant found in bushland and dry grassland. From June to September, towering stems are sent up and flower.

In full bloom, this plant is quite imposing. Its natural ability to blend well with grasses has contributed to its popularity.

Lavender-top goes well with silvery miscanthus, golden oat grass, and rippling ponytail grass because it includes the appropriate volume of airiness and plum color to contradict the straw-like arrangement and silver and golden colors of grasses.

How To Grow Verbena Bonariensis

This is a plain plant to grow from seed, or plants can be shopped in nursery centers. It grows as a clump of leaves and stems and is a perennial.

Purple-top produces many seeds and self-sows freely once established, especially in a gravel area.

Unwanted seedlings can be easily removed before they become too large. Many of these self-sown saplings have a remarkable ability to turn up in the most unpredictable places, usually just a crack in the paving or a seemingly rocky spot by the side of a path or paved section.


Purple-top is not entirely hardy, but it can tolerate most moderate winters. It prefers well-drained soil, and if the ground becomes too wet in the winter, the roots may rot.

However, if the soil is overly dry, the plant will become stunted and not produce as many flowers.

Purple top draws butterflies and bees, who frequent the flowers for nectar and are inspired to come back if the plant is grown in a shielded location where the air is warm, and the butterflies are not blown around while feeding.

Despite its somewhat gangly growth, purple-top does not call for staking or support. The stems are stiff, the vegetation is not thick, and air quickly moves through.


Sometimes called upright verbena, sun-loving Verbena bonariensis can be used as a foreground plant because its growth habit allows a clear view of plants behind it.

It serves equally well as a background specimen, where only its striking flower stalks are immediately apparent.

This perennial, evergreen during mild winters, may be killed to the ground by hard freezes though it generally re-sprouts in spring.

It also tends to self-sow in the landscape. Propagate by seeds and warm-season cuttings.


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