Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Verbena Rigida ‘Polaris’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Verbena rigida 'Polaris' (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Verbena rigida ‘Polaris’ (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Summer and autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 60cm

Eventual Spread: 40cm

Hardiness: 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b

Family: Verbenaceae

Verbena rigida ‘Polaris’ is an evergreen perennial with a clump forming habit. Its dark green leaves are lanceloate with toothed margins, up to 5cm long and 2cm broad. Its fragrant purple/ magenta flowers are up to 6mm across and appear in terminal clusters. Its roots are tubers.

Verbena rigida 'Polaris' Flower (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Verbena rigida ‘Polaris’ Flower (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

The species Verbena rigida, commonly known as Slender Vervain or Tuberous Vervain, is native to south South America including south Brazil and Argentina.

The etymological root of the binomial name Verbena is derived from the French common name of the genus Vervain. Rigida is from the Latin meaning ‘stiff’.

The landscape architect may find Verbena rigida ‘Polaris’ useful as part of an informal prairie scheme. It will also form an effective ground cover. This plant is drought tolerant once established.

Ecologically, Verbena rigida ‘Polaris’ flowers are attractive pollinating insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given the species Verbena rigida their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993 and 2001.

Verbena rigida 'Polaris' Leaf (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Verbena rigida ‘Polaris’ Leaf (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Verbena rigida ‘Polaris’ prefers moist, moderately fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislike poorly drained or dry soils.

Verbena rigida ‘Polaris’ requires little to no maintenance. This plant may be cut to near ground level in spring to promote a tidy appearance. Large clumps may be divided in spring.

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