How Cold Can Verbena Tolerate? A Guide to Growing Verbena in Cold Weather

For continuous color in the landscape, few plants rival verbena. This low-maintenance annual or perennial needs little supplemental care, yet rewards with months of bloom.

There are many happy colors of verbena flowers, such as red, pink, apricot, lavender, purple, blue, white, and bicolor. Plants that grow in mounds, trails, or straight up have clusters of small star-shaped flowers that go with their green lance-shaped leaves with finely toothed edges.

Use verbenas in containers, hanging baskets, borders or mass plantings. This hardy plant can handle different soils, heat, and drought, and is very attractive to butterflies and other insect pollinators. Most are grown as annuals, but some common types are hardy in USDA zones 7-11.

Verbena is a popular annual flower that adds vibrant color to gardens, containers, and hanging baskets. With its trailing and mounding habits, verbena creates visual interest and texture. But how cold hardy is verbena? Can you grow verbena in cold climates? Let’s take a look at verbena’s cold tolerance and tips for success.

An Overview of Verbena’s Cold Hardiness

Verbena is typically classified as a warm weather annual. However, some varieties exhibit better cold tolerance than others. Here is a general overview of verbena’s ability to withstand cold temperatures:

  • Most verbena varieties tolerate temperatures down to the mid to low 30s Fahrenheit.
  • Some newer verbena varieties can tolerate temperatures into the mid to upper 20s Fahrenheit range.
  • Once temperatures drop below freezing, verbena will suffer damage. Flowers and buds will blacken. Leaves may turn mushy and die back.
  • While verbena can withstand short periods of frost and freeze, prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures will kill the plant.
  • Factors like location and weather conditions impact exact cold hardiness. Verbena growing in ground beds may survive colder temps than container grown plants.

So in general verbena performs best in zones 9-11 where freezing weather is rare. With protection and care you can stretch verbena’s growing range into zones 7 and 8. Select cold-tolerant verbena varieties if planting in cooler zones.

Tips for Growing Verbena in Cold Climates

If you live in an area with cold winters, don’t rule out growing verbena Here are some tips to help verbena successfully overwinter

  • Choose cold-tolerant verbena varieties like Quartz XP and Imagination These varieties can withstand temps into the 20s F

  • Wait until after the last frost date to plant verbena outdoors. Planting too early increases frost damage.

  • Give verbena a head start by planting from transplants rather than seed. Transplants mature faster.

  • Select sheltered garden locations that receive southern sun exposure. This protects verbena from cold winds.

  • Cover verbena when frost or freeze threatens. Use fabric row covers overnight to preserve several degrees of warmth. Remove covers during the day.

  • Provide excellent drainage in garden beds and containers. Wet soil drops temperature faster than dry soil.

  • Mulch around verbena to insulate plant roots and crown. 2-3 inches of bark chips, leaves, or straw helps regulate soil temperature.

  • Avoid excess nitrogen fertilizer in fall which encourages tender new growth vulnerable to frost damage.

  • Prune back leggy growth in late summer to compact plants before winter.

  • Bring verbena containers indoors on cold nights then return them to their outdoor location in the morning.

What to Expect with Verbena in Winter

If verbena survives light fall frosts, expect increasing dieback as winter progresses. Flowering will likely stop even if you protect plants from freezing. Here’s what to expect:

  • Annual verbena will eventually succumb to hard freezes and frosts. It lacks the perennial verbena’s ability to overwinter.

  • Dieback occurs from the root up. Lower foliage dies first followed by progressive dieback.

  • Verbena may enter dormancy in winter but remain alive underground. Protect crowns from freezing and you may see regrowth in spring.

  • In very mild winter climates, verbena may continue flowering sporadically. But plants will lack their full vigor and performance.

  • Evergreen verbena varieties like Quartz XP retain more foliage in winter than trailing types. But little active growth or flowering occurs once temperatures drop.

  • Don’t cut verbena back completely in fall. Leave 1-2 inches of stem to protect crowns and enable potential spring regrowth.

Enjoy Vibrant Verbena Despite the Cold

With smart planting techniques and cold protection, you can enjoy verbena in your landscape for an extended season. Select cold hardy verbena varieties, grow verbena in sheltered microclimates, and be ready to protect plants when frost threatens. Although verbena won’t actively grow through frigid winters, you can get several months of bright flowers during the warm season even in cooler climates.

Is verbena an annual or perennial?

The most commonly grown hybrids are usually treated as annuals. Purpletop verbena is perennial in warmer zones.

Does verbena need full sun?

This sun lover flowers best with at least 6-8 hours of direct sun every day. See more full-sun annuals.

22 Best Heat Tolerant Flowers for Full Sun

Are verbenas winter hardy?

Winter hardy in Zones 9 and 10. One of the most fuss-free flowering plants you can grow, verbena suffers from few pest or disease problems. When issues do arise, they are usually due to not enough sunlight or poorly drained soil. Here are some stress signals to look for and potential solutions.

Are verbenas drought tolerant?

Whilst verbena plants will tolerate a part-shade position, flowering will be much reduced when planted in a shady spot. Watering: Most verbenas ‘are drought tolerant once established and growing in the ground,’ says Jason, particularly those species that are native plants.

Are Verbena plants hardy?

Violet-blue to magenta-colored flowers bloom on lacy foliage. This rugged plant spreads rapidly as a ground cover or trails from hanging baskets. It is also drought and heat tolerant. Winter hardy in Zones 9 and 10. One of the most fuss-free flowering plants you can grow, verbena suffers from few pest or disease problems.

Is Verbena a perennial?

Verbena is a long-blooming flower that can be grown as an annual or a perennial and is beloved by pollinators. Learn how to plant, grow, and care for verbena in your garden! Verbena, also known as vervain , is a long-blooming, heat-tolerant perennial or annual flower.

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