Sweet Almond Verbena

maden_theshade(8 - Austin)April 3, 2011

I stumbled across a Sweet Almond Verbena today and bought it on impulse...now I'm not sure where to put it! :-) Do they 'really' get 10 feet tall? Do the bees really flock to it in droves? I'm thinking of putting it next to my deck where it can get full sun, but don't want to risk having the kids get stung.

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It does attract a lot of bugs (bees included). Mine hasn't got 10' yet but every year comes back taller.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 1:31AM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

Yes, they do get that tall. Mine has frozen to the ground the past two winters, but has come back from the root. I made the mistake of planting in too close to the path. When I heard it called bush, I assumed bush not almost a tree.
Fortunately I never seem to bother the bees. I have sat on a stool trimming plants with them flying all around. I read that if you slap at them they release endorphines and that alerts the others.
Maybe you can teach this to your children.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 7:01AM
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tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)

Plantmaven, that idea worked for my mother. She trained my brother and me to leave bees and wasps alone, not to freak if we saw one but to sit/stand still and let them go away. Consequently, I've rarely been stung and the last two times I WAS stung by a wasp it was because I unknowingly startled it. And that's even with leaving wasp nests alone unless they're by a door! My mother even painted around wasp nests on the eaves of house and they left her alone. She talked to them while she was painting, so maybe that helped.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 9:40AM
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my sav is four to five years old and at least 10ft tall and maybe 4ft in diameter, it's made it through two winters totally unprotected although this year it's not as shapely as before
the yard guy trimmed it up high enough to clean under it so it's sorta treeish looking and not very pretty at all
it does smell like rootbeer to me when blooming and it does attract butterflies and other bugs (and i'm happy with that
it is at the very far end of the flower bed so i don't smell it as often as i'd like
it requires very little attention once established

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 3:09PM
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In part sun mine went from a small 6 inch pot to about 3 ft tall and 6 ft wide last year. The fragrance!......mmmmm

I haven't seen signs of life yet this year. Hope it comes back.

Where did you stumble on yours?


    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 4:10PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I see them at Natural Gardener in Austin but so far, I have restrained my impulses. SO FAR. Of those of you who are growing it successfully, What kind of dirt and how much water does it need. I live on crappy limestone dirt and a cistern so I can only water it the first year and then it is on it's own. This year things are extremely dry. Is it able to withstand extended droughts? How much pampering will this plant need. I can bring in decent dirt and load it up with coconut fiber and vermiculite to retain moisture but it won't see a bunch of water here.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 5:22PM
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Wantonamara, mine is growing in caliche soil with just a bit of amendment and occasional supplemental water. Not the best performance, but it hasn't died either.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 6:57PM
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maden_theshade(8 - Austin)

I found mine at the Sun Hardware store in Lago Vista. The guy who runs the nursery is awesome! He keeps it stocked with natives, deer resistant things, and small pots. No one wants to dig a great big hole in Lago! I bought the SAV on Sat afternoon and he still had three left.

I'll have to think some more about where to put this. I like the idea of setting it next to the deck so I can enjoy it. I'm really more concerned with the wasps and hornets. We had a party last summer and got some very persistant wasps coming after the kids juice boxes.

Good to know about the caliche soil b/c there are big pockets of that in my backyard too.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 10:51PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Good to know, Thank you Omar.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 1:07AM
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It gets to be that big in my yard even though it dies to the ground every winter. Be forewarned that this is an UGLY plant. Hide it in the back somewhere. You'll enjoy the fragrance even if it's pretty far away.
Bees flock to my garden in droves (and I've never noticed them on my sweet almond verbenas), but I've never had one bother me at all.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 1:58PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

It's one of those plants whose leaves will droop if in afternoon sun, but they will recover in the evening. Most of my four plants are in morning or filtered sun. I give them a fair amount of water to keep them blooming because I enjoy the fragrance.

Here's a photo of one of them in full bloom. They have several flushes during the growing season. Butterflies like it and the grey hairstreak uses it as a larva plant.

I cut all of them back in winter whether they freeze back or not to keep them from getting too big.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 3:45PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Back to the subject of bees, just as cweathersby says is their experience bees never so much as threaten me when I am working close to them or taking pictures right on top of them. Even if I bump them they just get out of the way. If they seem to be buzzing me it's just that I've gotten in their line of flight.

Bees sting in defense of their hives or if you happen to mash them or step on them with bare feet. It's more likely that you'll step on wasps in the grass. I frequently see them there. Wasps eat caterpillars. There are caterpillars that eat grass so that's what they are after.

Unfortunately I don't have as many bees as I'd like to see in my yard, but when they are here it doesn't seem like they are especially attracted to Sweet almond verbenas; not like they are to fruit trees, for instance.

Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 6:31PM
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Mine is ALIVE!


    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 11:32PM
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malmason(9, Houston TX)

You can let it grow to look like a shrub, or trim to look like Crape Myrtle.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 1:30PM
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I have this tree/bush on the side of my house..it must be at least 20-30 feet tall now. I started it in compost from the local landfill and it has gone crazy. It is about 3 years old.

Only thing i have noticed is that nothing seems to gow underneath..not even weeds. Are the fallen leaves toxic to other plants? The honey bees are crazy about this plan, as well as stink bugs..go figure.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 6:06PM
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