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A foreigner from South America fell in love with many flower growers. And they call her very mysteriously - VERBENA!
Consider in the article what kind of grass it is, perennial or annual, how it smells, where it grows, what species are common and other features and characteristics of the verbena flower, and you can also see in the photo how various varieties of a beautiful shrub look.
In addition, we will reveal the secrets of proper care and tell you about the methods of reproduction and pest control of vervain.
What is known about this plant?
it an ornamental and medicinal plant from the Verbenov family... As a perennial herb or shrub culture, it is common in tropical, subtropical and temperate climatic zones, but in Central Russia it is cultivated as an annual plant, because it is unable to endure winter frosts. She is the heroine of many wonderful legends, therefore she has the most unexpected names:
- cast iron grass;
- "The poison of the devil";
- "Vein of Venus";
- iron box;
- chervonny zirki;
- dry sickle;
- witch plant;
- holy herb;
- Juno's grass.
Why does the herb have so many unusual names?
Even in Ancient Greece and Rome, among the Persians and Gauls, this herb was sacred. The priests were crowned with a "sacred branch" during the sacrifice, and in each house, according to tradition, they kept at least one branch of grass to drive out evil spirits and give it to those who needed protection from evil.
In the Middle Ages, verbena showed itself as a medicinal plant and became a panacea for many diseases.:
- sore throats;
And during epidemics, it became one of the most expensive remedies. Juno's herb is one of the 12 magical plants that grow on Earth. She is a symbol of love, designed to extinguish anger, creates a cheerful mood. No wonder the name "pigeon grass" indicates its sacred nature.
What does this beautiful herbaceous plant look like?
Verbena looks different depending on where it grows.: in very warm climates, this perennial plant reaches 1.2 m, the trunk becomes lignified, it resembles, rather, a shrub, often grows wild or in flower beds without transplanting. But in temperate and cold climates, it is an annual with short herbaceous branches that die off during the first frost.
Green or brownish-green stems, depending on the species, can be:
- creeping (fall beautifully from the trunk or from the flowerpot);
- open (form a rosette from the main trunk);
- erect (strive upward, creating a dense green mass);
- pubescent (small fluffy whitish threads cover the trunk);
The leaves of verbena are either narrow, whole, or dissected, or pinnately incised. There are many of them on a branch, they are arranged alternately (rarely - whorled, i.e. 3-4 leaves from each node), therefore, even an annual plant gives the impression that a perennial shrub is growing. At the edges, the leaves have small, mild (in some varieties, turning into an oval elongated shape) or sharp teeth.
Verbena flowers are amazing for their soft beauty! They are collected in inflorescences (from 20 to 50 pieces). A separate peduncle is a five-toothed calyx with a five-lobed corolla. Flowers can be collected by brush, ears or paniculate inflorescences... And how beautiful their colors are:
- blue and blue;
- pink and red;
- white and yellow;
- cream and purple.
And this diversity pleases from the beginning of June to the end of October.
Species diversity: description and photo
There are several types of verbena:
And two groups:
- creeping (there are more than 250 species and varieties).
Designed for open ground, grows up to 1.5 meters and has large inflorescences.
Creeping (or ampelous)
It is grown in hanging flowerpots on balconies, to decorate settlements, to create flowering carpets in flower beds. The branches can grow up to 5 meters.
You can find out about the cultivation and reproduction of ampelous verbena, as well as see photos of the varieties here.
Obtained by crossing various natural species, almost always - an upright bush up to 0.5 meters with a large number of lateral shoots, on which a large number of large inflorescences with flowers of 2 similar colors are formed during the entire flowering period.
Hybrid verbena comes in several forms:
- ground cover;
- large-flowered (you can learn more about finely cut verbena here);
- with a breakdown;
- relieves migraine;
- normalizes blood pressure.
|Variety name||External features: height, color palette, beginning of flowering|
|Defias||Up to 30 cm, red, from July|
|Yulia||Up to 40 cm, violet-purple with a white core, from July|
|Cardinal||Up to 40 cm, bright red, from July|
|Etna||Up to 50 cm, red with a white eye, from May|
|Amethyst||Up to 30 cm, blue, from July|
|Dazler||Up to 25 cm, bright red, from June|
|Low-growing (up to 20 cm)|
|Crystal||Profusely branched stem, white, from late June|
|Pink Delight||Tiny, pink, bloom depends on climatic conditions|
|Splendor||Purple-violet with white eye, from July|
A perennial plant up to 20 cm, in which the central stems grow upward, the lateral ones spread along the ground. Umbrella-shaped inflorescences with small flowers, flowering is the longest, until the end of October. Used to decorate balconies and apartments.
Herbaceous perennial plant up to 35 cm with weakly branching or creeping branches, at the ends of which inflorescences are formed in the form of a spikelet of a lilac shade. Hardy (up to -10 degrees), photophilous.
Medicinal (pharmacy, field)
It does not have an attractive appearance, but it has useful properties... It grows in the form of a bush, on the stems of which the leaves are opposite, and the flowers in the panicles are small, inconspicuous, lilac (rarely purple) hue. It blooms in July and August and is used in official and folk medicine.
A rare perennial species. It is a powerful shrub up to 1.5 m tall with large flowers of blue or purple shades. It hibernates in the open field under an insulating material.
Where does it grow in Russia?
Verbena as an ornamental annual plant can grow in all climatic zones of Russia, except for the Far North.
In the wild, it is found not as an annual, but as a perennial - a shrub up to 70 cm high in the southern European part of our country, in the Caucasus, in the south of Siberia and Altai, in the Crimea. He especially loves glades at the edges of forests, floodplain parts of rivers or old channels, he feels good in meadows, along roadsides and even as a weed in sown fields.
Where can you buy it and for how much?
You can buy seeds or cuttings of verbena only in specialized stores.... Basically, these are flower shops or for amateur gardeners. The seeds are sold in bags of 5-10 pieces. The price, depending on the variety and number of seeds, is from 15 to 650 rubles (seed germination is low - no more than 30%, therefore, before buying this or that variety of verbena, you need to consult a specialist about the peculiarities of cultivation).
The most expensive seeds are hybrid varieties from Europe: Amsterdam and Paris. In addition, seeds of rare garden plants (such as verbena) can be purchased in time-tested online stores. For example, in AGROSERVER you can buy medicinal vervain for 30 rubles for a bag containing 50 seeds, and in "Seeds here" different types of flowering varieties of this plant from 15 to 21 rubles per bag.
What does the scent look like?
The plant is capable of producing amazing aromas... What is the smell of verbena flowers like? Even in antiquity, it was believed that its smell is capable of evoking love, and therefore love elixirs and wreaths for brides were made from it. If a woman wanted to win the heart of her chosen one, she must use oils based on the "grass of Venus".
In addition, it is believed that this plant prolongs youth due to its fragrant essential oils, polyphenols - antioxidants that protect the skin from aging. Therefore, as soon as perfumery products for body and face care appeared, verbena oil was added to soap. The smell of "witch grass" has always helped a person to calm down after a busy day, it is not for nothing that it is called "the herb of good dreams and health" (read more about the medicinal properties and use of verbena in folk medicine here).
In the form of herbal sachets under the pillow, this plant is used as a remedy for:
Modern aromatherapists believe that the smell of verbena can develop intuition and creativity in a person, so its place is in the children's room next to the bed or desk.
Today, more than 200 species of the fragrant plant, lemon verbena, are used in perfumery. She has a subtle scent, sweet, with hints of freshness and a lemon scent. After thermal and oil treatment of this herb, weak fruity-floral notes are sure to appear, which make the aroma richer, brighter, more stable, and tastier. But there is a danger that the strong scent of lemon verbena will still extinguish the additional scent!
They are "friends" with vervain in the creation of perfumery products:
- wild apple tree;
All components in cosmetics and perfumes benefit from the commonwealth of aromas, the scent becomes refined and unobtrusive.
Verbena is a very unpretentious beautiful herb, which is not difficult to care for in the open field. The shrub loves warmth and light, develops well at temperatures from +20 to 28 degrees. In winter it tolerates frosts from -12 to -5 without loss.
Caring for verbena for a gardener is not laborious, but you still need to follow certain rules.:
- Watering the plant. It is resistant to heat and can easily tolerate drought. After planting (with seeds or cuttings), you need to water it sparingly so that the plant sprouts or takes root faster. During active growth and flowering, watering should be regular, but not excessive. In the second half of summer, the flow of water to the verbena should be reduced.
- Providing the root system with air is also necessary, therefore, in extreme heat, after abundant watering, it is necessary to loosen the soil near the roots so that an airtight crust does not form. Loosening should be regular throughout the flowering period.
- Weed control. When planting verbena in a group, weeding is needed only at the very beginning of the development of the plant, since then it will grow and cover the soil with a dense carpet, thereby displacing all unnecessary plants in a natural way. If single plants are planted, then weeds need to be dealt with as they appear on the soil (read more about the basic rules for planting and caring for verbena here).
It should be remembered that mulch in the form of hay, straw, rotted grass "works well" on beds with verbena. It is even better to use black spunbond, in which the slots for the plants are made, then you do not need to loosen or weed.
- Top dressing. In order for a healthy, beautiful plant to grow, it is necessary to enrich the soil with mineral fertilizers (3-4 times during the period of active growth and flowering) and organic fertilizers (once for the entire season). You cannot overdo it with nitrogen fertilizers, otherwise the verbena will only give a green mass and will not bloom.
- Pruning. In order for the verbena bush to please the eye for a long time, you need to systematically cut withered flowers with garden scissors and properly cut the shoots, shortening them by ½ or ¾. Such a procedure will provoke the lush growth of the plant, which means a lush and long flowering.
- In very hot and sunny weather, it is better to cover this grass with a white cloth. Then there will be no burns and drying out on the flowers and leaves.
- Preparing for winter. In temperate and cold climates in the fall (in October), it is better to dig up the bush, transplant it into a tub and take it to the house. The plant will have a dormant period by this time. At home, it can be saved without loss. If the climate is warm and the temperature does not drop below -8-10 degrees, the vervain can be cut and covered for the winter.
Verbena reproduces in three ways.
- The most common - seeds... To get early seedlings, you need to plant seeds in late March - early April in small containers with loose, fertilized, moist soil with the obligatory content of sand and drainage. The seeds are scattered on the ground (they are very small), no need to sprinkle, the jar is covered with film or glass to create a greenhouse effect, put for 2 days near the battery, then put away in a cooler place.
Seedlings usually appear in 2-4 weeks. When the plants have 3-4 leaves, they can be dived and transplanted into separate cassettes. It should be planted in the ground after the end of severe frosts.
- Cuttings (suitable for seedless varieties of verbena). Cuttings are made in mid - late February (of course, we are talking about warm climatic zones). The top of the branch with 4-6 leaves is cut off, the cut is processed with crushed activated carbon. Extra leaves are removed. Cuttings are placed in a wet sand-peat mixture (1/1), covered with a film. For germination, containers with seedlings are placed in a warm place.
After about 2 weeks, the root system begins to develop.
- Dividing the bush... This type of reproduction is only suitable for medicinal verbena and is carried out in the same way as dividing berry bushes. The best time and place for planting is the end of May in a sunny area in the ground with a predominance of peat and sand. It is good if the soil is drained (you can use chipped bricks, pebbles, expanded clay).
Diseases and pests
Verbena is very resistant to various types of pests and diseases. They appear only when care is not respected.
|Diseases, pests||Manifestations||Reasons for the appearance||Means of struggle|
|Powdery mildew||The leaves take on a purple hue, die off and die.||Waterlogged soil.||Remove contaminated foliage, spray with Bitertanol, Propiconazole, Difenoconazole.|
|Different types of rot||The plant withers, the leaves fade.||Waterloggedness.||Treatment with metalaxyl-M or fosetyl.|
|Blackleg||Young shoots lodge, the root collar darkens and softens.||Dense plantings, high humidity.||Thinning the plantings, cover the soil with peat, wood ash, perlite, sand, treat with Previkur.|
|Aphids and miner fly||Leaves die because insects feed on juices.||Faded flowers and dry leaves are not torn off.||Treatment:|
|Nematodes (small worms)||Leaf and root necrosis.||High humidity.||Treat with Fitoverm.|
Use in landscaping to decorate flower beds and buildings
Since verbena is unpretentious in care, but very beautiful, it is increasingly used for landscape design: decorating flower beds, buildings. And the bright colors of flowers allow you to create the most incredible, bizarre living pictures. Creeping and bush hybrid varieties are suitable for flower beds., which, due to the ability to create a "carpet" of the soil and bloom for a long time, will be able to provide a unique view of the streets and squares of settlements.
Shrub varieties with large flowers are advisable to use for decorating alleys in parks or planting along sidewalks. Ampel varieties of verbena are good in flowerpots placed in stands near government offices, as well as on the balconies of houses. They can form whole flower healing cascades near shopping centers, hospitals, schools, kindergartens.
This the plant can simply be planted in pots and placed along the paths near the house or in the garden, and with the onset of cold autumn weather, move it indoors.
Verbena, what an unusual name for a very unpretentious, but legendary flower! You can fall in love with it for its multicolor, aroma, discreet beauty. For each feature separately. But it is better to grow it yourself and love it as the fruit of your labor and the wonderful gift of Nature to man.
Read more about caring for verbena in this video: