How to Grow Blue Vervain / Swamp Verbena (Verbena hastata)

blue vervain blooming

By Jennifer Poindexter

When I think of a beautiful flower garden, I frequently think of the cottage surrounded by wildflowers complete with a picket fence and gorgeous walkway.

Is this the look you’d like to create around your home? If so, you should consider growing blue vervain in your garden location.

Blue vervain is a wildflower that’s native to North America. It also sometimes goes by the name wild hyssop.

No matter what you call it, if you’re interested in adding blue vervain to your home, be sure to know how to go about growing it.

Here’s what you should know when growing blue vervain around your home and garden:

Growing Conditions for Blue Vervain

Blue vervain is a gorgeous flower that has simple growing conditions. When growing this flower, expect it to produce spiky blooms with a blueish purple hue.

These flowers are perennials that remain hardy in planting zones eight and lower. Blue vervain prefers to grow in damp locations such as next to streams or along a roadside.

However, they don’t like heat, yet are known for being cold-tolerant. These plants are also known for drawing pollinators and are an excellent choice for either a rain or butterfly garden.

Expect blue vervain to bloom from the middle of summer until the early portion of fall. They can become as tall as three and a half feet and equally as wide. Though, it may take one to two years for the plants to reach maturity.

Aside from providing cooler and damp growing conditions, what else does this plant need from you?

These flowers need adequate light and soil. Plant blue vervain in an area where they’ll receive full sunlight. This means their growing location will provide at minimum six hours of direct sunlight a day.

Also, be sure to plant in soil that drains adequately but is also consistently damp and heavy. This way, the soil can drain away excess moisture but holds the right amount to keep these flowers happy.

By providing the right growing conditions, you’re doing your part to keep blue vervain healthy, happy, and thriving.

How to Plant Blue Vervain

You know what blue vervain requires from you in a growing location. Now, you’re ready to learn how to plant these flowers.

There are two main methods used to plant blue vervain. The first method is to grow from seed. When planting this flower from seed, you should directly sow them during the fall.

Prepare the area by tilling the soil and ensuring it consists of the appropriate growing conditions.

From there, plant the seeds 1/8 inch deep. Lightly cover them with soil and water them gently. When planting in fall, the seeds should sprout in the spring.

If you plant the seeds directly into the soil, after all threat of frost is over in the spring, they should sprout in approximately three weeks. It’s vital that you keep the seeds damp, without oversaturating them, until germination.

Then continue to lightly water the seedlings on a regular basis until their roots have become established.

The next method to propagate blue vervain is by division. Do this outside of the growing season. Once the plants have stopped blooming, you may dig them up.

When they’re out of the ground, use a spade to divide them from the foliage through the roots. Then take the new divisions and plant them in a new growing location with adequate growing conditions.

These are two different ways you may go about growing blue vervain around your home. Neither are particularly complicated. It’s a matter of if you already have established plants you’d like to keep spreading around the property or if you’re starting from seed.

Pick the method which works best for your starting point and enjoy adding (or spreading) blue vervain around your home.

blue vervain in garden

Caring for Blue Vervain

Blue vervain flowers are low-maintenance. In fact, they only need three things from you to thrive when growing under your care.

The first thing these plants need is water. It’s important to deeply water them after the seeds have sprouted.

Watering deeply means that you’ll apply more water for a longer period of time, fewer days of the week.

The idea behind this is to saturate the roots of the plants during the initial watering and also to saturate the ground surrounding the plants.

As the days progress, the plants should dig deeper into the ground to retrieve more water. In the process, the plants develop deeper root systems.

This equates to stronger root systems and frequently, healthier plants all the way around. Before applying more water, it’s important to always test the soil first.

You do this by sticking your finger into the soil next to the plant. If it’s dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to have another deep watering session.

If it’s not, hold off for a day or two before testing the soil again and applying more water to the area.

The next step in caring for blue vervain is to mulch around the plants. Once the plants are taller, apply a layer of mulch.

This will help the plants retain necessary moisture and also keep weeds down around them. Mulch can also provide a layer of insulation over the winter months when the plants are dormant.

Finally, you should apply a balanced fertilizer one time per month during the summer. This provides the necessary nutrient boost the plants need to bloom adequately.

By providing adequate care to your blue vervain, you should be able to keep these plants looking their best for years to come.

Garden Pests and Diseases Which Might Impact Blue Vervain

It isn’t uncommon for plants to face certain threats when growing in any planting location. Blue vervain is no different.

When growing blue vervain, it’s common to deal with specific pests and diseases. The main diseases you may face are root rot, leaf spot, and powdery mildew.

These are fungal based issues that can typically be treated with a fungicide. However, root rot may not be treated with a fungicide.

Instead, if you suspect this disease, you must dig up the plant at the roots and allow them to fully dry before transplanting in an area with better drainage.

In most cases, the plants don’t survive. The best way to beat fungal disease is to deter it. Fungal disease thrives in areas with cold, wet soil.

To keep it away, be sure to plant your flowers in full sunlight. Though these plants prefer cooler temperatures and damp soil, ensure the soil drains adequately. You don’t want the plant left in standing water.

Powdery mildew may be treated with a fungicide and also by planting in areas with appropriate growing conditions.

However, ensuring you prune the flowers or divide them when they’re becoming overcrowded could help with this disease as well.

When the plants are provided adequate airflow, it makes it easier for damp areas to dry and less likely that fungal issues will develop.

You may also try watering your flowers in the morning instead of at night. This will give them ample time to dry throughout the day to deter fungal disease.

The most common pest to impact this flower is the whitefly. There are two common ways to treat them. The first option is to apply an insecticide, and the second option is to apply soapy water to your plants and spray them forcefully.

The soap will kill the whiteflies while the forceful water will dislodge any remaining pests and their homes from your plants.

Take these tips into consideration when growing a blue vervain plant. It’s vital that you remain alert to these threats to ensure your plants receive little to no harm should they face these diseases or pests.

You now know how to grow the blue vervain flower. These are gorgeous wildflowers that create a colorful and warming feel to your surroundings.

Blue vervain are low-maintenance plants that could make a wonderful addition to your perennial garden plot.

Learn More About Blue Vervain

blue vervain blooming in garden with text overlay how to Grow Blue Vervain

The post How to Grow Blue Vervain / Swamp Verbena (Verbena hastata) appeared first on Gardening Channel.



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