Secret to overwintering Verbena?

laperouse(6)June 17, 2008

I wonder if the secret to overwintering V. bonariensis is not to cut down the stalks until you see new leaves coming back? Last year, none of my VBs survived the relatively mild winter we had, but this year I didn't get around to cutting back the dead flower stalks and all of those VBs bounced back (+ a zillion seedlings, of course :-))

Could that be the trick?

Marianne

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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Marianne: I did cut them in fall, down to about 6 inches. I also mulch all of my beds with leaves in the fall, maybe that helped, but they did survive winter for me in zone 6- too well, in fact, and brought millions of volunteer friends.

I have tried nursery purchaced verbena homestead purple twice. It's supposed to be winter hardy here too, but neither survived for me. I've given up on that one. They're too expensive to use as annuals, but I do love them.

Karen

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:04AM
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caroline_2008(Z 6)

I have had homestead purple last
3-4 years and don't cut them down or mulch
for winter and they always come back for me zone 7 OK. I
deadhead them after blooming good all summer. I have
divided them a coulple times.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 10:31AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Last year was the first year I grew Verbena bonariensis, and not only did it reseed plentifully but 3 or 4 of the plants wintered over and are growing again. Must have been the snow cover all winter and the moderate temps.

I don't know about cutting it down, I leave most stuff standing over the winter for "winter interest" except for Peonies, Lilies, scraggly ugly annuals, and anything affected by mildew or disease. But maybe it is helpful not to cut it down - I've read that when you cut down certain perennials the cut stalks allow moisture to enter the crown of the plant and cause rot over the winter.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:03AM
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achilleasheel(z6 MA)

Verbena Bonariensis is determined to be an annual in my garden, but it reseeds all over the place. It took me a few years to recognize the seedlings before I weeded them away. Now I let some stay wherever they pop up, and some get discarded or transplanted. Also, I deliberately leave an unoccupied space in the garden where I sprinkle the dried seedheads, so some will come up exactly where I want them every year.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:59AM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

I got mine from a little plant that was growing along the beach just a short walk away. Poor thing was being trampled on and was only a foot high but flowering so pretty I decided to place it in the gardens.

Since then - 4 years ago? - it has spread into a footing minimum 3 feet in diameter but hasn't reseeded. I never cut it back and this past winter it was exposed to 7 freeze/thaw cycles. It is also exposed to the north winds. I finally IDed it this past winter and was so happy.

I don't feed it and mulch it. It is one of my best plants since it is not eaten by the deers and is pest and disease free. It also attracts the White Admiral butterfly which I truly admire!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 3:33PM
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laperouse(6)

Nicole,

Beautiful picture and lovely butterfly! But are you sure it's V. bonariensis? It could be that it's just too close up to tell, but it looks different to me somehow. Whatever it is, it is lovely.

What does everyone else think?
Marianne

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 3:48PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

I just went out and took some photos. Please remember that this is growing in lean soil with cool summers so it may not be as 'stately' as those in other gardens. It grows to about 3 feet in height by the time it blooms.

This is the plant.

This is a close-up of the leaves.

Another photo.

So, a Verbena or not a Verbena? :O) What say you?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 4:35PM
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laperouse(6)

Definitely no! But I like the foliage. I am useless at posting photos so maybe someone else can. I'll try to find a picture at Dave's Garden so you can see the difference.

That doesn't change that you have a lovely plant. Would you like VB seeds? I have them coming out my ears LOL.

Marianne

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 4:45PM
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laperouse(6)

Just wanted to say that it's not Verbena bonariensis, but I don't know if it's another kind of verbena. I'll leave that up to others to decide ;-)

Marianne

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 4:48PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Oh, NO! Not again! The plant is unknown once more! I just saw the flowers and the are exactly the same as those of the VB.

A lady once told me it was an Oregano, but she also said she'd never grow BES in the gardens since they were extremely invasive via rhizomes which we know is untrue. The leaves do have a nice aroma about them but I've searched all over and not found an Orenago which grows this tall. Could I be wrong? UGH! On the hunt again!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 5:30PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Nope, definitely not VB. When you said no reseeding, I wondered. And VB is a mint with square stems- are your stems square?

These photos are from last year. The blossoms

This shows the foliage. At the lower border, center, no blossoms. The leaves are long, skinny, and serated.

Good luck, Tiffy. Have you tried the ID forum? Those folks are good!

Karen

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 7:04PM
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laperouse(6)

Nicole,

I think whoever said oregano is on to something. That's definitely what my oregano leaves look like. However, my blooms are nothing like yours.

Hope you find an ID for this plant!
Marianne

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 7:09PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

I did try the ID Forum a couple of years ago, but at the time didn't get anything. I'll have to repost in the next couple of days and see if anyone bites. I can definitely see the difference in the leaves. The stems are not really square. I just planted a Monarda Jacob Cline and boy! do I know what square stems are!! :O)

Marianne,
Just might take you up on that offer of seeds this winter coming. :O) I'll see if I can save seeds from this beauty. It's certainly a nice addition to the gardens!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:49PM
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laperouse(6)

No problem - e-mail me your address and I'll send you some right away. I have them left over from last year and there may still be time to direct sow them (or sow them in a container so you'll know what the seedlings look like) for blooms this year.

Marianne

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:55PM
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vera_eastern_wa(5a-5b)

Tiffy that is no Oregano either which belongs to the Lamiaceae (Mint) family. All flowers belong to that family are characteristic and those are not it! The only other plant family with square stems would be the Verbenaceae (Verbena) family. Therefore I believe your plant is another species of Verbena (Sometimes known as Vervain). BTW some species of Verbena are obnoxious spreaders via think rhizomes!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 12:51AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

I was going to say origanum vulgare, but it says it's mint family. So ??? What do you say, Vera? Tiffy?

Karen

Here is a link that might be useful: Wild marjoram

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 7:05AM
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laperouse(6)

Karen, I think you found it. It looks exactly like the plant in Tiffy's photo and the leaves are so like orignaum, too.

Marianne

PS: nice photo of the VB + butterfly. Did you take that?
PPS: Tiffy, your comment about your "lean" soil made me chuckle. How could your soil be lean with all those UCGs you throw at it? LOL BTW, I finally have my own supplier of UCGs set up (the first one didn't pan out) and am looking forward to improving my own soil.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 7:44AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Marianne: Yes, I took that picture last year. This year I'm on a mission to wipe out the VB due to wild reseeding. But I thought the oregano matched Tiffy's plant, too, including foliage.

And I thought the same thing as you re: Tiffy's "lean" soil- that's funny coming from the compost & UCG queen of Canada.

Karen

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 8:13AM
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laperouse(6)

I know it's a pretty wild reseeder, but I still wouldn't be without it in my garden. I'd rather pull the unwanted plants.

Marianne

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 9:05AM
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christie_sw_mo(Z6)

I winter sowed v. bonariensis last year and they returned for me this spring but we didn't have any nights below zero over the winter. We usually have at least a couple but were lucky this year. A few of my volunteer seedlings that came up this spring are just starting to bloom but the ones that survived the winter started blooming about two weeks earlier. I didn't cut mine back and never got around to mulching.

They still have a long bloom time even if grown as an annual but it's a nice bonus that mine returned. Hope they do next year too.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 9:23AM
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vera_eastern_wa(5a-5b)

Now that I see the flower a little closer up Karen (lower lip of the flower longer than the rest...is the charateristic, I think your right! Good job!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 1:26PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Me? Got one right? Gee, that would be a shock.

Tell us tiffy, is your plant aromatic?

Karen

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 4:51PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Well Karen, don't that beat all!! That's it! Thank-you! I googled some more images and it's true to form. A greek Oregano. Who would have thought?! :O) And, yes, it does have a nice aroma in the leaves.

OK, in regards to the UCG Queen of Canada thing, well, merci beaucoup for the title. I've always wanted to be queen of something and I guess this is as good as it gets, eh? LOL!!

The soil in some gardens has been much more difficult to amend than others. This is one of them, and last year I skipped it altogether. I also usually only mulch with this UCG compost and sometimes take the extra UCGs and just fling them into the gardens and on the lawn.

In areas where the soil is originally from the woodlands, with the addition of the compost it becomes friable in one or two years. In other areas the soil is lacking in humous, is exposed to winds, and is downright mean, and it takes longer to amend but is starting to get there bit by bit. There are also rocks everywhere and they heat things up like crazy. In a couple of years this bed will hopefully be at par with others in terms of organic matter.

Marianne, for pictures of butterflies, I find that having your camera with you often really helps. Also, they are most active in late morning going about feeding. You can usually get very close to them midday when they are busy doing this. Just approach them quietly...

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 7:05PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Cool, Tiffy. I'm shocked that I got one right. Normally I have trouble ID-ing even common ones like cosmos, marigolds, etc.

I'm glad you got a positive ID after all this time, though.

Karen

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 7:48PM
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vera_eastern_wa(5a-5b)

That isn't regular Greek Oregano either....those have pretty blah white flowers.
Have you noticed if this one is spreading via rhizomes?

Here is a link that might be useful: More Info...Origanum species

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 7:36PM
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