Blue Vervain: How to Perfectly Growing & Caring

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The North American native blue vervain is a perennial wildflower. Verbena hastata, as it is scientifically termed, grows 2–5 feet tall in full light and damp soil.

It has purple flower spikes that bloom for six weeks in the summer, attracting a lot of pollinators and birds who consume the seed. Lastly, Native Americans have a long history of using it medicinally.

What is Blue vervain?

Blue vervain is beautiful perennial wildflowers native to North America that provides long periods of purple flowers. It is found in ditches and near wetlands and grows near water in moist to wet soil. Blue vervain produces colorful flower that thrives from spring to fall.

It requires eight to ten hours of full sun to grow. They are usually plants as potted nursery plants mainly in the spring or sow seeds indoors in plant trays in late winter.

History of Blue vervain

Blue vervain has a long history. The name Verbena means “altar plant” that was used as alter herb by the Romans, Egyptians and Greeks. It was known as a sacred herb and burned in Roman temples and scattered on altars. Soldiers also carried vervain’s springs as their protection.

Early Egyptians people believed that vervain created by the tears of Isis (the Egyptian goddess of healing and magic), when she wept for her dead husband Osiris. In the 16th century, it had become the official herb of English apothecaries and they started to use it almost for 30 illness. Still it is used as modern herbal medicine today.

Blue vervain overview

Common Name: Blue Vervain, Blue Verbena, American Blue Vervain Simpler’s Joy, Wild Hyssop
Scientific Name: Verbena Hastata
Family: Verbenaceae
Type of plant: Perennial
Sun requirement: Full
Soil types: Moist, well-drained
Blooming time: July- september
Height: 60-180 cm
Moisture: Wet to medium

Types of Blue vervain

  • Aloysia triphylla
  • Vervain bonariensis ‘Lollipop’
  • Vervain ‘Claret’
  • Veravain hastata
  • Vervain macdougalii ‘Lavender Spires’
  • Lanai Twister Pink

1. Aloysia triphylla:

This variety is commanly known as Lemon verbena. It produces purple and white flowers in the summer. This type is a deciduous sub-shrub that contains strong lemon scent. They can be grown in the full sun in a sheltered spot in milder areas.

2. Vervain bonariensis ‘Lollipop’:

Vervain bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ is commonly known as a purple to
lollypop. It generates purple flowers in the summer and autumn. It grows to only around 60cm tall, and it has groups of small, and purple flowers in the summer and autumn.

3. Vervain ‘Claret’:

Vervain claret is technically considered as glandularia but often referred to as verbena. produces red flowers that blooms in the summer and autumn.

4. Veravain hastata:

Vervain hastata is also known as American blue vervain that generates purple flowers in the summer and autumn. It forms perennial clump and grows around 1-1.5m tall with a spread of 0.5-1m. It contains narrow leaves and spikes of small violet-blue to pinkish-purple flowers.

5. Vervain macdougalii ‘Lavender Spires’:

Vervain macdougalii ‘Lavender Spires’ is commonly known as mountain blue vervain lavender spries that produces purple flowers in the summer and autumn.

It is perennial which can grow to around 1.8m higher. It contains narrow and rough leaves, also has bears branching stems.

6. ‘Lanai Twister Pink:

It contains dual-tone light pink and dark pink flowers.

7. Vervain rigida:

This variety is H3 hardy. It is perennil but it is often grown as an annual. Vervain rigida can grow to around 60cm tall and contains fragrant flowers. Vervain rigida ( slender vervain) produces purple flowers in the summer.

How to plant Blue vervain?

Blue vervain is beautiful perennial wildflowers, and it is not challenging to plant. you need to follow some tips to plant it.

When to plant

Start seeds indoors 8 weeks before last frost. Plant it outdoor when soil gets warm to at least 60°F in the spring and frost danger passes.

How to plant

Prepare the area and appropriate growing conditions. Plant seeds 1/8 inch deeper. Cover it with the soil and water it gently. When you plant in the fall, remember the seeds should be sprout in the spring.

If the seed is planted directly into soil, it should be sprout, it should be sprout approximately in three weeks. It is important to keep the seeds damp without oversaturating it until germinate. Continue lightly watering to the seed on the regular basis until roots established.

If you want to plant vervain in the container, fill a suitable container with moist potting soil. You should press the seeds with thumb, but should not burry and cover, Keep the container in such a location, where it receive morning sun and afternoon shade. It is vital to germinate seed within two weeks.

How to grow?

Blue vervain is a gorgeous flower that requires basic growing conditions. Expect Blue vervain produce spiky blooms with a blueish purple hue when you grow it. Blue Vervain seed needs 30 to 90 days cold stratification period and sunlight to break dormancy. Blue flower requires adequate light and soil.

If your plant in the container keep it in area where your plant can receive full sunlight. It requires minimum six hours of direct sunlight a day.

In the summer, start seeds indoors 2 to 14 weeks before your average last frost date to ensure flowers.
You should wrap the seeds in a moist paper towel and put them in a plastic bag. Remove the cover and bring the tray into direct sun when the seeds start to sprout.

Care for Blue vervain

Blue vervain requires low-maintenance. We can easily care it by providing proper conditions and requirement. It requires regular water but should avoid soggy soil conditions.

Sunlight:

Blue vervain requires full sun so it is best to plant in the full sun. Choose such a place where it can get six to eight hours daily sun. Flowering can be reduced in the shady conditions.

Water:

Its water requirement is depend on the conditions of the regions. Once it got matured blue vervain needs average water, you can water it 1/2 to 1 inch per week. You should keep plant evenly moist until it established.

Soil:

The plant prefers relatively dry soil with acidic to neutral pH 5.8 to 7.2. Dig shovelfuls of compost or leaf mold to lighten dense soils because heavy clay can lead to root rot. Verbena hastata (blue vervain) is not too picky for soil because it can grow from sandy loam to clay as long as it does not dry out much.

Fertilizer:

Blue vervain does not needs supplemental fertilizer. However, if you want tall plants but are planting in infertile soil without much organic matter, it would be helpful to add fertilizer as per requirement. If they are planted in containers, use water-soluble in the growing season and follow product label instructions.

Pruning:

You should prune the plant several times during the growing season to bring new blooms and extend the blooming season.

You should wait until new growth in the spring. When you see new green shoots along the base of the plant or leaves growing on the stalks, It is the sign to cut it.

Use hedge trimmers in favour of newer greener growth, which usually only be a few inches high. Safety is necessary, so remember to wear protective clothes, gloves while trimming in the garden.

If you find any mold or discolored patches on the leaves, cut off because it can be a sign of disease. Verbena plants have bright blooms, but if you don’t trim it may plant not produce more flowers over the summer.

Propagating:

To propagate using seeds, buy commercial seeds, under carefully controlled greenhouse conditions.

The plant can be propagated by cuttings and seed. The best time to take cutting is in the spring when they are likely to root. Summer cuttings are tough but they root more slowly. Cut 4 to 6 inches clippings from the ends of healthy stems by using sterile pruners.

You should use plastic cover or loose plastic bag to cover it and set it in the bright location but it should be out of the direct sun. It is good to inspect the cutting and moisten the potting mix.

Temperature and Humidity:

The plant requires extra care during the coldest months of the year, if this is the first year of Blue vervain outside as a new plant. The first year can harm blue vervain seriously.

Blue vervain requires 5℃ or above when it is not yet established. You can bring it inside for a one or two months by putting mulch or fabric barriers that protect it from frost damage.

Protect against pests and diseases

The plant blue vervain is sensitive, so some common pests visit it such as powdery mildew, that harm to blue vervain but we should treat them with insecticidal soaps. There are also some main insect pests that can damage the plant including aphids, leafminers, mites, and scale.

When the plant are provided airflow, it helps to make damp area dry and hold developing fungal issues. Whitefly is also common pest which can harm the plant. But we can treat them by applying an insecticide and soapy water to our plants. The soap will help to kill whiteflies while water will remove any remaining pests.

Do not over watering this plant in winter, watering too much at this time can lead your plant toward diseases so don’t water it more than once per month during winter.

An interesting fact about blue vervain

  • Blue Vervain was used as medicinally to treat a wide variety of illness by Native Americans.
  • Blue Vervain is a Verbenaceae family member and it shares a similar resemblance to its European cousin Verbena officinalis.
  • The roots of blue vervain can be used for internal medicine such as anxiety, coughs, depression, colds, fever, headaches, stomachaches, and cramps. It is also used externally, it is helpful to heal sores, wounds, acne, and ulcers.
  • The plant typically contains a bitter taste but seeds and leaves can be soaked in cold water to remove bitterness.
  • Vervain was know as holy plant of both Greek and Romans. They were used to clean their temples with blue vervain’s branches.
  • The Greek people called it hierobotane, which mean “holy plant” and Roman called it herba sacra, which means “holy herb”.

Uses of Blue Vervain

  • Blue vervain’s health benefit is related to science, the plant was used for traditional medicine to treat illness. It is useful to for stomach pain and to protect against the evil eyes.
  • In Ethiopia Plant’s leaves are used to treat ear infections and its root play essential role to treat tonsils inflammation and ascariasis.
  • It is found in tincture form, as a powder, or ointment. people can drink it as herbal infusion. It is fact that vervain supplements can be purchased today. Native American uses it for cough, cold treatment, headaches, stomachaches, and cramps.
  • It can be entered with certain blood medications or hormone therapies.

Related questions

1. How long can verbena plants live?

When it is grown as perennial, they are short lived plants for two or three years. If you are producing hybrid, may find it colonizing in a manner that makes it long-lasting.

2. What is the best time to fertilize Blue vervain?

If you want to grow the plant outdoors each year, you will see new growth in early spring, and the emergence of those leaves indicates that this is a right time to provide fertilizer your plant.

3. How long does it take to germinate?

Blue vervain prefers a cold period to germinate. It takes at least 30 days below 40°F in moist soil to germinate.

4. How long blue vervain spread?

If plant is young, it will grow throughout the season. It can spread about 12-18 inches wide. It is best to plant them at least 12 inches apart so that it can drop seed and will reseed themselves.

5. How much sunlight does Blue vervain requires?

Blue vervain requires full sun. You should keep it in such a place, where it gets minimum six to eight hours sun to keep healthy its roots, leaves and blooms.

6. Which is an essential time to prune Blue vervain?

When you see damaged leaves, dead leaves and diseased leave during the growing season that remind you to prune it. Removing dead stems can help to increase the light and ventilation of the plant that will be beneficial for growth.

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Reference:

Wikipedia.org

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