Verbena is a genus of flowering plants in the family Verbenaceae, comprising about 250 species. Most of the species are native from Canada south to southern Chile, but some are native to Europe. The genus contains annual and perennial herbaceous or subshrubs, and the most widely grown are the colorful half-hardy perennials. It is also known as vervain.
Verbena is suitable for containers, window boxes, or the front of a sunny border. Its leaves are usually simple, opposite, and are hairy in some species. The flowers are borne in dense spikes, small in size, with five petals, and the petal color can come in shades of blue, red, white, pink, or purple.
Some species, hybrids and cultivars of Verbena are grown as ornamental plants, valued in butterfly gardening in suitable climates. They can also attract Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) such as Hummingbird Hawk moth (Macroglossum stellatarum), Chocolate Albatross (Appias lyncida), or the Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor).
Verbena officinalis (Common Vervain or Common Verbena) is a perennial herb, native to Europe. The plant can grow to about one meter, bearing spikes of mauve flowers.
Verbena grows best in sun and well-drained soil. Propagation is by seed or division in spring. Verbena can be affected by a few pests and diseases such as aphids, slugs and snails, powdery mildew and leaf spot.