on a Stick brings in butterflies like this
could see activity all around as I approached the bed
and the plant looked like it was a butterfly magnet. I
am always impressed when I see multiples of one species
hitting on flowers and such was the case when I
witnessed American Lady Butterflies feeding on a plant
we call, Verbena on a Stick.
speaking this is Verbena bonariensis. There is nothing
quite like it giving the garden a cloud-like appearance
of blue flowers about 3 feet tall and borne on a stiff
stick rising out of the soil. It is native to South
America and is normally a reliable perennial in zones
6-9. Even if you live outside the range you may get
lucky with a few volunteers in the spring from seeds.
recent introduction named Meteor Shower is a little more
on the violet side and produces few if any seeds,
lessening the chances of the plants becoming invasive or
problematic. Two dwarf selections Little One and
Lollipop that reach 18 to 24 inches tall are-receiving
equally good reviews.
find the Verbena on a Stick brings in pollinators of all
sorts including bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. One
other thing that makes them especially appealing in our
area is the roving deer population has them on the do
not eat list. The trait that I like most about them is
that they seem virtually indestructible blooming until
will find the best success by choosing a site in full
sun. This verbena needs good drainage but copious
amounts of rich organic matter is not needed unless you
have severely tight clay. If you find yourself with this
predicament however, spread 3 to 4 inches of fine pine
bark or compost and work it into the soil to a depth of
6 to 8 inches.
plant used to be for sale, only as healthy green
transplants, which is the best way to buy perennials,
forsaking the need of instant gratification. Growers
however have master the production now where you can buy
choice of companions is almost limitless. The key to the
showiest display will be to aggressively plant boldly in
mass. It is the quintessential cottage garden plant and
works extremely well in the modern perennial garden.
Wherever you use it automatically gives you a butterfly
the landscape youíll find the tall height and the fact
that it is kind of naked at the bottom makes it ideal
for the back of the border or filling in vertical space.
In the large sweeping bed where my American Lady
butterflies were feasting they were partnered with Miss
Huff lantana and Qis Orange gomphrena. They also excel
as the tall plant in mixed containers.
is easy. Cut back frost-damaged foliage in the fall. In
the early spring thin or remove unwanted seedlings or
pot some up for other parts of the garden. The plant is
packed with vigor so you will not need a lot of
fertilizer. A little pinching in late spring will help
the plant develop a shrub-like form.
summer will be long and hot and youíll be-wanting
tough flowers that donít need babysitting. Put the
Verbena on a Stick on your list and you will be glad you