• Eventual height: 2m
  • Eventual spread: 0.45m

Verbena bonariensis

purple top

RHS award of garden merit Perfect for pollinators
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RH30000357
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PL00006536
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This perennial dies back to below ground level each year in autumn, then fresh new growth appears again in spring.

  • Position: full sun
  • Soil: moderately fertile, moist, well-drained soil
  • Rate of growth: average to fast
  • Flowering period: June to September
  • Hardiness: borderline hardy (may need winter protection)


Tightly packed clusters of lilac-purple flowers on tall, stiff, branching stems from June to September. This stylish perennial has been enjoying a resurgence of interest in recent years. Perfect for a sheltered, sunny, well-drained spot, its open, transparent shape means that it can easily be used at the front or middle of the border despite its height.

This plant will help to sustain bees and butterflies into autumn with its tall wiry stems of purple flowers. It makes a good filler, because the upright stems support neighbouring plants. Plant it among the warm-red Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ and it will act as supports, negating the need for staking, whilst providing a dazzling display.


  • Garden care:
    In cold conditions Verbena bonariensis can suffer dieback if cut back in autumn, so it's best to leave the plant until spring and cut back the old growth when you see the new shoots emerging at the base. Also it's a good idea to mulch around the base of the plant with a deep, dry mulch in winter to help protect the plant. Where plants are grown in either exposed or partially shaded positions, they may need to be supported. If this is necessary use natural materials such as brushwood or twiggy pea-sticks.


  • Sowing instructions:
    Early sowings can be started off from February, in seed trays which are kept under glass before hardening off and planting out. Alternatively, after the worst frosts have passed, sow directly into a sunny, well-prepared seed bed, thinning the seedlings out to 45-60cm as they grow. Pinching out the growing tips will encourage bushier plants to develop.


  • Sow: February to May
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