Great Flowering Groundcover: Homestead Purple Verbena canadensis

April 27th, 2017

I have always liked flowering groundcovers, something about a carpet of blossoms just does it for me. Plus the more ground covers I have, the less mulch I have to buy.

When I lived in Michigan my go to was creeping phlox, which I had planted all over my yard like in the below photo. It spread reliably though not super fast, bloomed like mad in the Spring, and the foliage was not unattractive… and yet it bloomed like mad in the Spring only, no other time.

Creeping Phlox Emerald Blue, Back Garden

Creeping Phlox Emerald Blue, Back Garden

Now that I live in the South I still like creeping phlox, and I drive by this home regular that has a whole front slope covered in it and it looks great, but I’ve been trying to get it going and not having as much luck. Meanwhile, I’ve discovered verbena, something not hardy up in Michigan. I can buy it down here at Lowes for 5 or 6 bucks for a gallon pot, less when it’s on sale. I recall buying maybe a 3 inch pot last year for maybe $2.

So I planted this one solitary plant late last summer. I spent all summer trying to find it, I had read about verbena, thinking it was the plant for me (even deer resistant! which is important, because organic free range venison has been getting all up in my business), and couldn’t find it, mail order nurseries were all sold out, then I go to Lowes one day and boom, trays and trays of it. I buy one I think, to give it a try. I planted it early last Fall, witness below:

Newly planted Homestead Verbena

Newly planted Homestead Verbena

Cute, but small, yes? Not really florific yes?

We had a drought late last year, really really bad, extreme on the USDA drought map, many of the plants I planted alongside this verbena did not make it (I planted it where I’m building a house, not where I’m living, and so it wasn’t able to get reliably watered). The verbena not only survived that drought, it thrived. Winter came, then here, in Spring, look what this plant has done:

20170411_124749

That is the same verbena, two seasons later, not two growing seasons later, two seasons, call it 6 months. It did that in 6 months. And those flowers, and they’re still blooming strong. That is why I think this will be my new favorite groundcover, it blooms from early April until November. My understanding is that the blooms will lessen later in the summer and I can deadhead or cut back to encourage more heavy bloom flushes, but still, blooming at all for that long of time, and drought resistant, and deer resistant. Sign me up. It is taller than creeping phlox, getting up to 8 inches or so in height.

I like this so much I planted a bunch at my business too, and bought more for the slope where this first test went, and I think I will get more still.

20170411_124754

The plant will spread, which of course you want it to do as a ground cover, rooting where it comes in contact with the soil, and it is also easily propagated from cuttings. It needs sun for flowering, the more full the sun the better.

2 Responses to “Great Flowering Groundcover: Homestead Purple Verbena canadensis”

  1. Jenny  Says:

    This is my very favorite plant EVER! I’ve had it in my gardens for three homes in a row, now. Love it!

  2. Rita  Says:

    What would you use as a ground cover in zone 4? Have a steep area I don’t mow and would like to start something to be able to eliminate the grass that is too steep for me to mow.

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