How and when to prune verbena


Verbena is a genus of herbaceous or semileinous plants, annual or perennial, with about 250 accepted species. It has lanceolate leaves and small flowers in violet. Verbena belongs to the botanical family Labiatae or Labiadas, as well as other plants well known for their health benefits. Both its healing properties and the attractiveness of its flowers make it a plant sought by many gardeners. That is why we could not miss on our website an article on how and when to prune a verbena, with special advice on pruning one of the most common species, the verbena bonariensis.


If you read to the end you will learn the best techniques for proper pruning, the right time to trim and the tools to do it. The article has no waste, I assure you. 😉

Note: Please note that the advice given here is general, this blog is consulted from many countries in the world, with totally different characteristics, what not all tips will be adapted in the same way in all cases. Once you finish reading the article it will be necessary to analyze all the information and apply what you have learned in the best way. If you have any questions, remember that you can contact us to make your inquiries.

1. General care of verbena


As if to introduce ourselves to the main theme of the article, the pruning of a verbena plant, we will begin by giving the towns that you need to carry out to keep it healthy, strong and beautiful.

  • Soil: it does not require excessively fertile, which if it helps is that it is a soil with good drainage.
  • Irrigation: it is a plant quite resistant to drought, so it does not require much water. Ideally, water it once a week taking into account that you should not water too much. It is advisable that the soil remains completely dry for a couple of days before deciding to water again.
Verbena flower
Verbena flower
  • Sun: the verbena is able to withstand direct sunlight, in fact it prefers it, although occasionally it is good to leave it a little in semi-shade so as not to damage it.
  • Temperature: it is not very resistant to great cold so if we want to keep it throughout the year, place it in places protected from wind and low temperatures.
  • Pests: the bitter enemy of the verbena is the aphid, this usually attacks the verbena plantations outside. To end them easily, you have the option of applying a concrete insecticide for aphids, or spraying soap and water over the entire plantation.
  • Diseases: the most common in the verbena is the appearance of fungi due to an excess of ambient humidity. Therefore, it is important to properly irrigate and plant it in a well ventilated place.
  • Pruning: pruning could not be missing from this list, a technique that we will expand in detail in the next sections.

2. Tools needed for pruning verbena


In the next sections we will see that pruning this plants is not complicated at all. And as often happens, easy pruning needs a small amount of tools.

In the case you can manage with simple hand pruning shears, it is more in many species (the smallest), you can perform pruning with stationery scissors. Keep in mind that the moment you make the cut is ideal to transmit diseases from plant to plant, that is why you must disinfect the blades before pruning and every time you change the plant.

On the other hand, when we carry out gardening tasks like this, some basic safety implements never go wrong. These can be a pair of gloves and glasses, this will protect your hands and eyes from any sharp elements.

2.1 Needed care of pruning tools

Try to perform the following care in your pruning tools to extend useful life.

  • Use the right tool for a job and avoid twisting or straining it.
  • Clean and oil tools regularly by wiping an oily cloth on blades and other surfaces.
  • Keep cutting edges sharp by regularly using an oilstone.
  • Wooden handles should be varnished or regularly treated with linseed oil to keep them from cracking or splintering.

Keep in mind that if you extend the life of your tools you will not be doing anything other than saving money. 😉

You may also be interested in knowing about pruning:

3. How to prune verbena plant


As soon as the article began, we said that verbena is a genus with about 250 accepted plant species, you can imagine that it is very difficult to talk in particular about the pruning of each of the spices. That is why we will differentiate pruning tips in annual and perennial verbenas.

3.1 Pruning of annual verbena

Let’s start talking about the pruning of annual verbenas, these can be trimmed periodically throughout the year, in order to encourage their growth and the production of new flowers.
A quick analysis that will let you know if your annual verbena needs to be pruned is to see if the plant is suffering from any of the following points:

  • When plants have thinned.
  • In case you have taken a little regular form.
  • If it has stopped blooming and the flowering is very poor.

The moment you notice that something like this is happening is when you must take the scissors and prune. A severe pruning will not be necessary, in general it will be enough to cut up to a quarter of the length of the branches, so that the plant reacts strongly and generating new sprouts. It is recommended that once finished pruning apply some floral fertilizer.

In many of the annual plants, it is helpful to cut the dried flowers during the flowering period. This will encourage the plant to generate new flowers.

When we talk about pruning, it never hurts to say that it is of utmost importance to trim every dry and / or sick element, especially the latter. Those dry branches and leaves only affect aesthetics, but sick or attacked elements by pests are of the utmost importance that they are trimmed to prevent further spread. Try not to use the waste of this pruning for a compost or something like that, but you must take them away from the garden, or you will not be preventing the spread of the pest or disease.

3.2 Pruning of verbena bonariensis (perennial)

Let’s talk about perennial verbenas, among which is the popular verbena bonariensis. As with the annuals, pruning bonariensis is not a difficult task, just take into account some simple tips:

3.2.1 Tips for pruning in spring

As with many of the plants in your garden, the beginning of spring is an excellent time to prune, in the case of perennial verbenas it is not the exception.

Take advantage of this time to see if your plant has old stems, which are usually hard, woody and long. Cut them all a couple of centimeters from the ground level. If you find new shoots on these stems, make the cut just above them.

Verbena bonariensis

On the other hand it is also good to check if some stems or buds have turned brown or if they have fallen to the ground. Be sure to cut all these brown branches, as they can be a sign of some disease (get rid of pruning waste).

In the first days of spring the verbena bonariensis will start producing new shoots at ground level, this is a way for the plant to spread. If you let it grow freely it can be too invasive for your garden. If you don’t want your garden to be filled with verbenas, take advantage of this moment to cut all the seedlings. It is a very simple task that you can do without the need of any tools.

3.2.2 Tips for pruning during the summer

Just as spring is the ideal time to perform control pruning on the verbena bonariensis, in the summer pruning can be carried out to improve the development of the plant.

Once finished the first flowering you can carry out the pruning to a quarter of the entire height of the plant. What this cut will do is to encourage the generation of new flowers and buds, replacing the old growth after about 15 or 20 days.

Another pruning that will help the plant to generate new branches, making it look more leafy, is the technique known as apical pruning. This consists of making small cuts on the tips, about 2 inches will suffice. You can do it about 2 or 3 times throughout the season.

As with the annual verbenas, the verbena bonariensis benefits a lot if you cut its withered flowers during the flowering season. If you do not want this plant to spread try to cut these flowers do not get to produce and spread their seeds, but you must cut them as soon as they begin to wilt.

4. When to prune verbena


If you have read the previous section, in which we talk about how you should carry out the pruning of your verbena plants, we have also indicated when you should do it. Like this and everything, and to leave a more organized and easy to read article, I will summarize the right time to prune in the next lines. We will divide again between annual and perennial verbenas.

  • Time to prune your annual verbenas: pruning of these species can be carried out throughout the year, remember that in general they are always garter pruning.
  • Time to prune bonariensis verbenas: in the case of perennial vernebas we can divide the pruning into two; those of early spring, and those of summer. A vital advice here is always to avoid pruning during the fall, leave the entire plant to help you spend the winter.

5. Verbena bonariensis – grow & care / Video


As is the case on this website we like to finish the articles with a video, to help see everything in a more graphic way. To be honest I have not found any good video about pruning verbenas, so I leave a good video with advice on how to care for this plant (Grow Plants Channel).

You may also be interested in knowing about pruning:

Well up to here we have arrived with this article in which we talked about how and when to prune verbenas. I hope you have no doubt when you should take your scissors and get to work. 

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