VERBENA – Vervain
The rich colors of the Verbena have endeared it to us for yearsand years. Our mothers and their mothers grew it, and we have seen them use hairpins to get it to root along the stems. Most persons know its range of brilliant colors; the pinks are like those found in Trailing-arbutus, especially in the variety Miss Ellen Willmott; the purple is truly royal; the scarlet is like rich velvet; the white is as pure as snow; the blue and lavender tints are dainty; and besides the clear color varieties, there are sorts with white and dark eyes, and others that are striped. All the above are forms of Verbena hybrida. There is another annual species of great charm known as the Moss Vervain (V. erinoides). Its flowers are purplish-blue or white, and the leaves are fern like.
The Lemon Verbena, so-called, is not really a Verbena nor an annual, but in California at least, is a woody, trailing plant. It is Aloysia (Lippia) citriodora. The leaves are deliciously lemon-scented. Small plants may be raised during the Summer and brought indoors for Winter, as they will not tolerate the cold.
USE. The Verbenas are suitable flowers for ground covering, and make good masses in the border. As cut flowers they are attractive when loosely arranged in low bowls and vases.
The Moss Verbena is especially recommended for hanging baskets and urns, although useful in the garden as well.
GENERAL. The seeds of Verbena appear not unlike small twigs and are. slow to germinate. It is well to keep the seed bed covered with burlap to retain moisture. Sow the seed in a hotbed or sunny window in March and the plants will begin to bloom in June. The florist sows the seed in February because he desires them to be in bloom when sold in May. Sown outdoors when the trees are in leaf, the plants flower in July or August, keeping up a continuous display. Set the plants 12 to 18 inches apart and they will make a dense mat of bloom. It is well to pinch them back early in their growth. Keep the flowers cut so that the plants may not go to seed.