Very visible verbenas

2015-08-12 06:00
Verbenas are hardy and need little attention.

Verbenas are hardy and need little attention.

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IT is known as a hardy and attractive garden flower but in ancient times the verbena legend had it hat it was used to control the follow of blood out of Jesusand#039; wound when He was removed from the cross and became known as the and#034;Holy Herband#034; and and#034;Deviland#039;s Baneand#034;.

With the Greeks dedicating this bloom to Eos Erigineia, the Titan goddess of the dawn, and ancient Egyptians calling the plant and#034;Tears of Isisand#034;, itand#039;s easy to see how revered verbenas were back in the olden days.

Now the verbena is regarded as a must for the garden as they are prolific bloomers which require only little pampering and are hard as nails, in other words they are one of the hardiest annuals around, surviving easily in the dusty and sweltering sun-beaten spots that usually just remain barren in gardens throughout the year.

Most of the 250, or thereabout, verbena species come from the Americas while some originate from Europe. For a long-lasting colour spectacle every year itand#039;s best to plant them in early spring, and theyand#039;ll reward your previously bare patch with colour right up until the first frosts. Verbenas have been known to “pretend”, to be perennials and survive the winter to continue flowering for their second year, but their true annual colours show in their ability to deliver only about half the amount offered in the first year.

Four tips:

• Plant verbenas in a well-composted bed and when theyand#039;ve reached a height of about 15cm, give them a once-off dose of slow-releasing fertiliser.

• While theyand#039;re settling themselves in, water regularly until you can see theyand#039;re healthy, happy and growing well. After that, it is important to only water them when the top layer of soil, at least one centimetre deep, has dried out.

• Being sun-thirsty plants, verbenas need as much direct sunlight as their leaves can lay their surface area on, every day. Ideally between eight and 10 hours will be perfect. This not only makes them happy, but will prevent any kind of disease possibilities, like powdery mildew.

• Deadhead your spent blooms. Itand#039;s not a mammoth task and will make sure they offer non-stop flowering. If you notice theyand#039;ve stopped flowering and itand#039;s because you forgot, donand#039;t worry, just clip off the top of the stems and theyand#039;ll be blooming again in a couple of weeks. Theyand#039;re forgiving like that. - Bedding Plant Growers Association. For more information, go to www.lifeisa garden.co.za

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