“Toronto” is a new series of Verbena canadensis, with masses of warm silver-pink flower heads in summer. The stems trail along the ground usually with their flower heads pointing upwards (decumbent).
The flower umbels, 5cm (2in) in diameter, appear throughout summer through to autumn. It tolerates light shade, but best flowering is in a position with full sun, 6 to 8 hours per day.
Verbena is a popular short-lived perennial, treated as an annual. It is used as a ground cover or low border in front of taller perennials. A heat and drought tolerant plant that is outstanding in sunny beds. It also performs well in hanging baskets and containers. Easily grown in average, medium moisture soils in full sun.
Verbena is perennial in frost-free growing conditions, but is often grown as an annual and discarded at the end of the flowering season. As such, can be sown almost all year round, (avoid the hottest and coldest months) It can be sown directly, but results are far greater if the seeds are given favourable conditions during raising.
Sow in spring: February to April
Sow 6 to 8 weeks before planting outdoors. Sow very finely onto the surface of pots containing moist seed compost. “Just cover” with a sprinkling of sieved soil (1/16th inch) and cover the container with dark paper or similar as the seeds need the dark to germinate. Place the container in a dark place.
Keep moist, watering from the base of the container but do not saturate the compost. Keep at a temperature of 18°C (65°F) in light but not strong sunlight.
The seeds usually germinate around 14-28 days, but may take up to 90 days to finish germinating. Remove the cover once they begin to germinate to allow air to circulate (otherwise they may suffer from damping off) and reduce the temperature to around 15°C (60°F), a warm kitchen windowsill is often sufficient.
Thin (prick out) into 7cm (3”) pots containing a well drained compost mix when the seedlings are large enough to handle. You can add 10-15% horticultural sand to a regular compost to achieve this. (Use sand that doesn’t contain salt)
Harden off young plants gradually for 10-15 days before planting out, after all risk of frost has passed. (mid May onwards) Plant 20cm (8”) apart in a sunny position. (Verbena is susceptible to the fungus mildew if planted in a wet, shady locale.)
Verbenas do not require a particularly rich soil but a monthly application of a slow-release, complete fertilizer are beneficial during the growing season.
Water deeply to encourage roots to grow deeply, resulting in a healthier, more drought tolerant plant. Avoid overhead watering if possible.
Once plants show signs of going out of bloom, a light pruning will produce another crop of flowers within 15-20 days. I recently read of one gardener’s opinion on the subject…… “Here's the problem; people do not want to cut plants back and will not cut them back as long as one pitiful-looking bloom endures. People who cannot discipline themselves to shear old blooms periodically should not grow Verbena” !
To overwinter plants, take cuttings or bring containers indoors before the first frost.
Beds, borders, rock gardens, edging or annual ground cover. Containers, hanging baskets and window boxes.
|Average Seed Count||35 Seeds|
|Cultivar||Toronto series: Lilac Rose|
|Common Name||Trailing Verbena, Clump Verbena|
|Flowers||Silver-Pink blooms from spring to first frosts|
|Position||Full sun needed for best flowering|
|Soil||Well drained soil|
|Notes||Often treated as an Annual|