praire-verbena photo

Prairie Verbena, Low-growing perennial spring color

Description: Glandularia bipinnatifida, known as Prairie Verbena in Texas, has a number of other common names including Dakota Mock Vervain and the poetic Spanish Moradilla, meaning “Little Purple One.” It is found widely in Texas and ranges to Central America. It prefers grassy, prairie habitats in nature. Prairie Verbena is in the large verbena family, which also contains Texas native favorites Frogfruit (Phylanodiflora) and Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides). Prairie Verbena is a short-lived, short-statured deciduous perennial growing to one foot tall and one and a half feet wide with widely dissected medium green leaves.

Flowers and Seeds: Prairie Verbena has a long flowering season, from March through October, with the heaviest blooms in the spring. Its flowers, usually in the purple hues, are borne in clusters with each flower having five petals. It readily re-seeds.

Planting sites: Prairie Verbena thrives in partial shade to full sun in a range of soil pH and soil types. It prefers dry to somewhat moist sites and must be well drained.

Watering Instructions: Water Prairie Verbena well when planting it or its seed. It is drought tolerant except in severe dry spells.

Comments: Prairie Verbena is a favorite plant seen along Texas roadways and in fields during its blooming season. It is well suited for home gardens, especially those not regularly irrigated. It attracts butterflies and bees, with its flowers providing a nectar source. It is deer resistant. Prairie Verbena is easy to grow and can be propagated by cuttings or by seed. Consider planting Prairie Verbena instead of non-native Periwinkle, Petunia or Begonia. Companion species include Zexmenia (Wedelia texana), Mealy Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea), milkweeds like Antelope Horn (Asclepias asperula), Gayfeather (Liatris mucronata) and Sundrops (Calylophus berlandieri).

Written by Dr. Becca Dickstein

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