Should I pinch back Verbena b.?

laperouse(6)July 10, 2006

My Verbena bonariensis that I sowed in situ this Spring are approx. 4"-6'' tall - should I pinch them back to encourage bushiness? At this stage I am even starting to wonder if they will bloom before the end of the season! The same question goes for my Asclepias curassavica.



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juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl

Marianne: Yes, definitely pinch your plant(s). This will encourage the formation of lateral branches and a nice bushy plant. If you haven't grown this before, I think you'll be pleased. It's somewhat of a see-through plant, even if it is bushy. The flowers are also long lasting in vase arrangements.

Yours is a bit delayed in forming but I think you will have flowers yet this year. Once that happens, you won't need to plant them again. This was a prolific reseeder for me in my Ohio Zone 6 garden but such a wonderful, colorful, drought tolerant butterfly magnet that I accepted the job of pulling excess plants as a small price to pay for the results.

I grew it in a curbside planting with miscanthus and cosmos. The cosmos also reseeded and was drought tolerant. The combo of the blue/lavender verbena and the orange/yellow cosmos was eye catching and I didn't have to drag a hose across the yard to have a great display.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 11:14AM
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June, Thanks. I usually would pinch back a plant to encourage bushiness, but I recently bought a couple of flats of Verbena b. from a very reputable nursery (being afraid that my in situ sown ones would never reach flowering stage!) and they were single-stalk plants about 3 feet tall so I thought that maybe this particular plant does not take well to pinching. I will promptly pinch them and my asclepias back :-)


    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 12:40PM
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BTW, the combination of verbena b. and cosmos s. sounds stunning - do you have any pictures to share?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 12:44PM
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juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl

Sorry Marianne, but that was 2 years ago in my pre-digital camera days so I don't have any pics.

Several years ago I was in line behind a lady who was purchasing a verbena b. at a local garden center. The plants for sale had not been pinched and I suspect she had spent time selecting the tallest one. As the nursery fellow rang her up he casually put his hand on the central stem and snapped it in half. She gasped.

He told her it was the thing to do and I also piped up to assure her that he had done her a favor. Perhaps later in the summer, when she admired her beautiful plant, her dismay turned to appreciation.

Happy gardening - June

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 2:04PM
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What a funny story! And I bet she did appreciate it later on. I actually have some Cosmos s. seeds lying around that I never got around to sowing this Spring. Do you think it's too late in the season for a Verbena/Cosmos tour de force? Otherwise, I'll just wait till next year.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 10:48AM
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Oddly enough, I often cut off the lateral branches of Verbena bonariensis because I want it to be tall and thin rather than bushy!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 12:12PM
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juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl

Marianne: Seems like sowing some cosmos seeds now would be worth a try. They're supposed to germinate in 5 days; add 4-6 weeks to flowering and surely they'll be adding to the fall show in your garden.'ll be ahead in your garden for next spring when the self sown seedlings pop up along with their verbena b. companions.

Usually seed packets contain way more seeds than we need so you could hold some back for "in case".


    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 1:07PM
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I am growing V. bonariensis ((the proper way to shortcut a plant species btw :D)) for the first time. The plants have been self-branching on their own; are between 2 and 3.5 feet (depending on location) and have been blooming for about 2 weeks. Mine are wintersown plants.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 12:55PM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

I'm growing these from seed this year and was wondering whether I should pinch. They *do* seem to be self branching. I suppose I'll pinch half of the seedlings and see if it makes a difference.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 9:44AM
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