En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - July 20, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Failure of potted verbena to bloom
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a trailing purple verbena that won't bloom. It is in a container, not in the ground, and gets lots of sun. What is the problem?

ANSWER:

In our Native Plant Database, there are 36 species with the name "verbena" in the name of the plant, most members of the genus Glandularia. Probably the most-used native verbena is Glandularia bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain). We are pretty sure that what you have is some sort of a hybrid, with different colors, as that is what is usually available in commercial nurseries. Since we don't know, and you were probably not given any indication, what hybrid this would be, we can only deal with your question on a general basis. This website from GardenGuides.com Verbena can give you some more care information, regardless of the species. In cooler climates, verbena are considered annuals, but in Houston, you should be able to get it to perennialize. You said it was in a container, so you need to make sure the container drains very well. The verbena needs moist soil until it is pretty well-established, but cannot tolerate soil that does not drain well, and may develop disease because of the poor drainage. The native verbena mentioned above blooms from March to October. Although our webpage on the verbena says it needs part shade, which we define as 2-6 hours of sun a day, other websites say that verbena needs full sun, up to 8 to 10 hours a day of sun. A plant that needs lots of sun to bloom is not going to do well in a more shaded location. If blooms seem to slow during the summer, you might trim the whole plant back by about 1/4, and hopefully it will recover its vigor and bloom again. Dedheading is important on this plant but, again, just trimming across the top to take off spent blooms should suffice, instead of snipping off each individual blossom. If your plant has lush foliage and no flowers, we suspect the plant food you are giving it is heavy on nitrogen, which promotes green leaves. Switch to one that has a higher phosphorus content, the number in the middle of fertilizer designations, and see if that will inspire your plant to bloom.

 

From the Image Gallery


Purple prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida

More Container Gardens Questions

Growing native vines in pots from Houston
May 28, 2012 - I am writing in regards to your often mentioned issue of plants not doing as well in pots and in the ground. After last years drought, i moved all the plants I had that were in danger of dying of t...
view the full question and answer

Care for indoor Lemon Cypress
November 30, 2008 - How do I care for an indoor Lemon Cypress tree?
view the full question and answer

Replanting a blue agave in Rio Rancho NM
January 11, 2010 - I have acquired a Blue Agave, approximately 4-5 ft high. It still appears quite healthy. It was used over the holiday season for display purposes in a liquor store. Unfortunately, the root ball has be...
view the full question and answer

Type of clumping bamboo for outdoor planters from Plano TX
March 25, 2014 - What type of clumping bamboo can be grown outdoors in planters in Dallas,TX?
view the full question and answer

Leaves dropping from a potted Mesquite
August 11, 2014 - I have a Prosopis pubescens (Screwbean Mesquite) that I purchased at a nursery in Alpine, TX just a few miles away from me. It was a in nursery style black plastic container. The mesquite is perhaps a...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center