August 25, 2015

A Bewitching Shade of Blue

v hastata 1
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)

Do you have a favorite wildflower? I can't say I do, although wildflowers with blooms like this make my heart beat faster.

There's simply something bewitching about Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata). I find the entire effect of it enchanting--the form, the height, the delicate spiking flowers that look like a candelabra. And the color--especially the color.

Would you call that French blue? Greek blue? Maybe more like periwinkle?

v hastata 3

For years, I've been fascinated with this tall (up to six feet) plant. Shown here with Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum), it often towers over the plants around it. While that's part of its appeal for me, I don't think I have the best habitat for it in my own garden. Also, it prefers moist soil and full sun. But whenever I see it in the wild, I swoon.

v hastata 4

The pollinators love it, too.

Recently, when I was researching Blue Vervain, one source listed it as an annual. But more recently most sources I'm finding say it's a short-lived perennial that re-seeds itself. It would probably be happy in a wet meadow or a rain garden.

v stricta
Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta)--showing its own foliage and Purple Love Grass
(Eragrostis spectabilis) in the background.

Blue Vervain is closely related to Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta), also a beautiful plant. Hoary Vervain's foliage is wider and more ovate, compared with Blue Vervain's more lanceolate foliage. And its flowers tend more toward the lavendar/pink hues. One pleasant characteristic of Hoary Vervain is that it doesn't grow quite so tall--only to a maximum height of about four feet. Plus, it's drought-tolerant.

But, back to Blue Vervain ... a few other plant characteristics listed by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, include:

  • Native to most of North America, predominantly in moist prairies and damp thickets;
  • Blooms June through September;
  • Attracts bees, birds, and butterflies;
  • Larval host to the Common Buckeye butterfly; and
  • Prefers sun, but will grow well in partial shade (or even some shady locations).

v hastata 2

Definitely a wildflower worthy of high praise on this August Wildflower Wednesday! Thanks to Gail at Clay and Limestone for hosting this wonderful meme. Head on over to her blog to learn more about wildflowers blooming around the world.

Next up: the Garden Lessons Learned meme! What have you learned in your garden during the past few months?

60 comments:

  1. I love this blue and would say it needs to be in my garden and meadow. I do have the right conditions. I have never seen it in the wild. In most damp areas the purple loosestrife dominates taking up all the room this plant would have. Thanks for reminding me about this plant Beth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, actually I was thinking of you, Donna, as I was pulling together this post. Maybe it could help fight the Purple Loosestrife for you. You're welcome. I'd love to see your meadow someday. :)

      Delete
  2. This is a beauty. I will be looking for it in the wild. It wouldn't like my garden, especially right now. It is very dry here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, I have some of the same issues with periodic droughts. Most of my garden is dry and sunny or dry shade. I'm wondering, though ... maybe it could have a place ... somewhere here ...

      Delete
  3. Very pretty!
    Happy Wildflower Wednesday!
    Lea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy WW to you, too, Lea. This is a great meme!

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the plug for natives in general and this plant in particular. Your photos are gorgeous. I've seen in sold by seed at the LBJWC plant sales, but I don't see it all that commonly here in Austin--what a shame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! And thank you. We have so many amazingly beautiful native wildflowers available in most of North America. You can order this plant (or seeds) through native plant-sellers. Here are just a few: www.prairiemoon.com, www.prairienursery.com, www.agrecol.com,.

      Delete
  5. Beautiful - not a flower I've heard of before, but now I can keep an eye out for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's a beauty. The flower stalks are surprisingly delicate, but dramatic in a group. It's very tall, though, so it would need a special spot in a garden.

      Delete
  6. I LOVE your choice Beth. And I'm with you in loving tall spiky blue flowers in general. I have a variety of Salvia called "Black and Blue" all over this year for the hummers. As far as a wildflower goes, I'd have to say "MonkeyFlower." The ones I remember as a kid hiking with my Great Dane were always a dusty dark orange and I would pick bunches and take them home to mom. I love your choice! Thanks Beth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many gardeners and bloggers seem to be mentioning 'Black and Blue' Salvia lately, as well as 'Amistad.' They're both gorgeous! I'm not familiar with Monkey Flowers, but I looked it up--what an interesting plant!

      Delete
  7. Great pictures of your favorite wildflower. Do I have one...let me think.....it changes with the seasons!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Layanee--it's one of my favorites, anyway. ;-) I know it's hard to pick a favorite, but this one at the right time with the right light is beautiful!

      Delete
  8. I do love blue-flowering plants! Somehow, Verbena hastata reminds me of Verbena bonariensis which grows in my garden - the height, the color of the blooms, etc. Verbena h. has a big advantage - it's native!
    Love your photos, Beth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Verbenas, in general, are lovely. Yes, it's wonderful to have some native options. I don't think they would do well in my garden, but they're gorgeous. I might have a spot for this one, though. Still working on it!

      Delete
  9. somewhere on the periwinkle side of lavender, and a beautiful feathery blue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think periwinkle is close. Feathery blue is a good way to put it. It's close to the color of Vinca minor (Lesser Periwinkle). A beautiful color on a beautiful plant.

      Delete
  10. I see it here and in PA in the meadows, a nice shade of blue. I grow Verbena bonariensis, not native, but a real hit with pollinators. It is also very tall which seems to please the butterflies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the Verbenas are beautiful. I need to find a way to add some to my own garden. In the meantime, I'll enjoy it when I see it in the wild. :)

      Delete
  11. Beautiful flower! I have never seen before. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you are welcome, Endah. I really don't have a favorite wildflower, but this one is lovely.

      Delete
  12. Hi,
    I have something like that in my garden, but I am not sure the name. I do love it. The plant I have is just a bit more of a lavender color flower.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The verbenas are all beautiful. Maybe the one you have is V. stricta--Hoary Vervain? I like them both for different reasons. Lucky you to have it successfully growing in your garden!

      Delete
  13. That is a lovely verbena thanks for the information.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Yes, it's a beautiful one. I keep trying to find a way to add it to my garden. :)

      Delete
  14. Beautiful pictures of this blue Verbena, I have this one in white in my garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is that hybrid called 'White Spires'? That one looks beautiful, too. I'm imagining interplanting the blue with the white. I wonder if they would revert to one color or the other...

      Delete
  15. Oh, you are talking my favorites here....well first of all, I have two favorites: LAVENDER and butterfly blue delphinium. Talk about a bewitching blue....WOW! Our delphies were so healthy and blue this year, I couldn't get enough of them! And thank you so much for coming to visit my blog post. Yes, I am sharing only my own photos - they won't be as fabulous as those from Pinterest or Tumblr, but it's time to just be all me.

    Have another lovely Midwest summer day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anita: Yes, Delphiniums are beautiful. I don't remember seeing them in the wild, but I've grown them many times in my garden. I have a couple Delphinium plants in my garden now. They only last a short time and kind of go dormant with the heat of the summer. I've never had much luck with Lavender, for some reason, but it does have a lovely scent. Re: your photos ... yes, they are every bit as spectacular as anything one can find on Pinterest or Tumblr. I look forward to more amazing posts from you!

      Delete
  16. Oh, so pretty! I'm going to have to find a source for this plant; too bad I didn't plant some this year as all the rain we had earlier would have provided the perfect growing conditions for it this year. I didn't know it was the host for the Buckeye, either; I haven't seen any of those this year, and I usually do. Looks like I'm going to have to expand my small butterfly garden as my plant wish-list keeps growing:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems like this would be a great plant for you, Rose. Yes, I'm imagining it in your garden now. ;-) It seems like it would have been happy with all the rain you had (we didn't have quite so much this summer--enough, but not plentiful precipitation). I'm trying to think of a place where I can sneak it in, too. ;-)

      Delete
  17. Beautiful pictures! And I would call it violet blue ;) I too love wildflowers! I just threw a bunch of wildflower seeds along the new walkway we just had built leading to our boat dock. Can't wait to see what the spring brings! Lovely lovely post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Diane. Good idea with the seeds. I've tried that before, too, and had mixed results. It worked really well with Wild Columbine, so I think I'll spread more of that, and maybe try some new seeds. :)

      Delete
  18. Beautiful photos of one of my favorite prairie plants. I saw some white vervain last weekend, but it wasn't blooming. I love the way the white looks in late autumn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Heather. I'm thinking the white and blue planted together would look lovely. My favorite would still be the blue, though. It's such a gorgeous shade, although I don't think my photos do it justice.

      Delete
  19. This was the talk of the town when we saw it in Bob Hyland's garden this summer. It was the first sighting for me and now I MUST have some.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, do keep me posted on where you plant it. I'll look forward to coverage on your blog, Ricki!

      Delete
  20. I planted two last year.... Love them.... Michelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucky you! I'm thinking of one spot in my garden where it might work. I might try scattering seeds there, along with some other seeds.

      Delete
  21. Replies
    1. I've seen it at several state parks and at the Arb. Hoary Vervain also grows there. I don't recall if I've seen it at Olbrich, but I wouldn't be surprised. :)

      Delete
  22. Beautiful photos. The flowers do have a stunning blue. They are really gorgeous close up, though I don't think they have a big impact from a distance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It is striking. It does have more impact up close, although it's pretty dramatic back-lit with the candelabra effect.

      Delete
  23. A beautiful plant! I have some growing wild in my detention pond out back, and this year, one popped up in one of my partly shady flower beds. It does tower over everything else, but I was thrilled that it volunteered itself there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucky you! Part shade, huh? Maybe I'll have to try it in my garden.

      Delete
  24. Blue vervain grows wild here back by the pond. If you ripe seed head on a bare spot of garden soil and mark the spot you should have plants in the spring. It is beyond hardy, but I think it might be one of those that is hard to grow from old seed. For a lot of wild plants fresh is best. You just plant them like Mother Nature does. With wild plants she knows best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tips, Becky. If I do decide to plant it, I'll keep those things in mind. Good to know that it seeds well and that it's very hardy. :)

      Delete
  25. I swoon too when I see plants like this in the wild. It seems like a great plant to grow in your garden if you have the space and right conditions. I wonder if you can use the leaves for tea?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I checked it out--apparently it is used to make tea. Yes, it's fun to imagine a garden with all the plants you'd like to have, and having the perfect conditions for every plant.

      Delete
  26. I love any sort of Verbena, this is a real beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Chloris. I was looking at some other Verbenas at a garden center the other day and thinking the same thing. I especially love this one because of the color, but the others are wonderful, too.

      Delete
  27. I saw this in a wet meadow at our state arboretum this weekend. It was beautiful and looked like a little candelabra. Now all I need is a wet meadow...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I know what you mean. ;-) I have one spot in my garden that's at the bottom of the hill. It may stay a little moister than some other areas. It does get a decent amount of morning sun. I might try seeding some of this Verbena there, along with some Swamp Milkweed and Wild Columbine. My luck with winter seeding is not the best, but I guess it's worth a try and a lot less expensive than starting with plants. I think I'll cut back all the other vegetation in the area and that will give it plenty of spring sunshine. Wish me luck!

      Delete
  28. Lovely! Interesting that you called it bewitching; something is tickling my memory - is this the plant that is kryptonite to vampires?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good heavens, you are correct! Here's a link that explains it: Vervain and the Vampire Diaries. Actually, the legend is that it protects humans from vampires. I'm not a vampire nut or a believer in vampires, but legends are interesting, historically. Thanks for mentioning the connection.

      Delete
  29. It is lovely, and the butterflies absolutely adore it. In fact a local nursery has been tasked to grow one that is native to Mexico - a little more dark purple/blue - there's that "how do you describe the colour?" for the Niagara Butterfly Park. Wish we had more of it here....which means, maybe I should go hunting for some seed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting--I hadn't heard of the dark purple/blue Vervain. I'll have to research that! ;-) I've never seen butterflies on this plant but I don't have any in my garden, so that's not surprising. I'm thinking of an area that just might work for Blue Vervain. Stay tuned...

      Delete
  30. I'm not remembering which vervain a local friend gave me this spring. I am pleased that it bloomed, and seems to like the dry spot it has. Well, the spot wasn't as dry as usual, since we've had so much rain this year. Yours sure is a beauty, and is fuller than mine, so I may have the other kind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you're lucky to have a Vervain thriving in your garden! It sounds like you might have Hoary Vervain, also beautiful, which prefers prairie-type conditions. I hope I can find a place for Blue Vervain in my garden. I'm contemplating it...

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by!

(Your comment might not appear right away. PlantPostings uses comment moderation, and we read every comment before we publish.)