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Does Verbena Spread Quickly? [5+ Control Tips]

Planning to shift your hanging Verbena in the garden but wondering if Verbena can spread and turn invasive? We got you covered.

Generally, Verbena is a low-growing ground cover with a moderate to fast-spreading nature. Upon suitable condition, Verbena can spread up to 18-25 inches and create a struggle to surrounding plants for light, space, and nutrients at times.

However, with timely pruning and deadheading of the Verbena, you can enjoy their vibrant blooms without worrying about their invasive nature. 

Thus, continue reading the article till the end so you know how to tame Verbena and its spreading nature.

Does Verbena Come Back Every Year?

Verbena are flowering shrubs that are both annual and perennial, depending on their growing condition and varieties.

Generally, Verbena loves warm and bright light. So the varieties suitable for warm zone i.e., zone 7 to zone 11, are perennial and keep coming back yearly. While the ones growing in zone 3 to zone 6 fail to transition into the next growing season.

But the temperature in growing zones where Verbena is perennial merely goes below freezing, favoring the vibrant Verbena’s growth, development, and blooming.

A verbena plant spreading out out its place.
Both the annual and perennial Verbena grow out of their space at times.

For instance, once grown, Homestead Purple, Rough Verbena, and Texas Rose persist for more than 3 years. 

On the other hand, annual varieties that barely withstand the harsh winters are Lanai Royal Purple and Quartz Series.

Does Verbena Spread Quickly?

Following the moderate to fast-growing rate, the low-growing Verbena does spread to form a carpet. And that too within a single growing season.

Spreading in Verbena is due to the runners that can produce roots from each node. 

Upon bright direct sunlight of 6 to 8 hours and warm temperature (70-85°F), Verbena can attain its desirable mature height with adequate spread. 

Generally, the annual Verbena can reach 6 to 12 inches tall in a year. Meanwhile, the perennial once grows a little taller i.e., 12 to 24 inches. Besides, the runners laterally move 18 to 25 inches wide. 

Despite the vigorous spread, Verbena is not considered invasive in its native region of Asia and North America.

These are rather grown as ornamentals that attract pollinators, including Hummingbirds.

A bee about to land on purple verbena blooms for pollination.
Pollinators like bees are attracted by the bright-colored petals of Verbena.

Interestingly, deers also detest Verbena due to its strong taste and zesty smell. So you would not have a problem growing them in deer-prone areas.

That said, Verbena can be problematic when left unattended for a long time. 

Although the annual varieties can not make it past a single season, they leave behind their seeds. These seeds germinate into a new plant as soon as they get the warmth, creating their own colony.

Further, the dormant root of perennial Verbena revives in the following spring before the surrounding plant even starts germination.

The pre-existing root system intimidates the nearby plant and sometimes may deprive them of space, light, and nutrients. 

Tips For Controlling Verbena’s Spreading Habit

Not everyone is blessed with a big lawn and garden like that of Bille Eilish and Jenna Ortega

But that should not stop you from having clusters of five-petaled flowers in shades of purple, pink, red, white, and lavender.

Here is how we can maintain Verbena to keep them in contact. 

  • Try growing the Verbena plant in a 10-12 inches pot or a raised bed, restricting the spread of the root.
  • Divide Verbena’s root clumps, plant them individually and replant them. Root division in spring could be a great way to propagate the plant and simultaneously control the overcrowding of the plant.
  • Pinch the Verbena blooms as they start fading to discourage seed setting to avoid self-seeding.
  • Place a layer of plastic or organic mulch as a barrier to discourage the germination of dispersed seeds.
  • Trim the trailing stems to prevent root formation at the nodes, which helps contain the plant in the desired shape. 
  • In severe conditions, spray some glyphosate herbicides that effectively control the Verbena plants.

Form Editorial Team 

Shade the Verbena for Slower Growth! 

Verbena requires abundant sunlight to thrive happily. 

So, cover the plant with shades to decrease the direct light incidence, which gradually slows down the growth and spread.

All The Best!