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Blue Vervain, Verbena Hastata Usually Grows In Meadows, With Purple Flowers That Appear In The Summer
The blue vervain, otherwise known as the Verbena hastate or the swamp verbena, is a flowering plant in the Verbenaceae family, with purple flowers that appear in summer. A typical plant that occurs across North America is hardy and drought-resistant, and it serves as a larval host to the common buckeye butterfly. As this species is a member of the fourteen-chromosome diploid North American vervains, hybridization seems to have played some role in the blue vervain's evolution, presumably between some group members, including the white vervain, the western vervain, the mint vervain, or any species of the like.
A wildflower often growing in moist, grassy meadows and along streams and roadsides brightens the landscape with spiky, bluish-purple blooms from midsummer to early autumn. Also known as the wild hyssop, the blue vervain grows wild in every part of the United States. It also serves as a traditional medicinal herb, with the roots, leaves, and flowers used to treat conditions ranging from stomach aches, colds, and fever to headaches, bruises, and arthritis. Native Americans of the West Coast would often roast the seeds and ground them into meal or flour.
Blue Vervain, Verbena Hastata Works Well In Any Container And Attracts Many Butterflies, As Long As It Has Full Sun
As a colorful annual plant with a preference for full sun, blue vervains pop up everywhere in the garden in a broad range of colors that add brightness to window boxes, hanging baskets, and all sorts of containers, even garden beds. Some cultivars self-sow readily, akin to a perennial, and other cultivars have two or even three colors on the same plant. Taller forms of the Verbena have less color variety, balancing out their airy appearance that attracts butterflies. Since the blue vervain is low-maintenance and drought-tolerant annual, all it requires is light and the occasional deadheading to keep blooming from summer until frost. And in some cases, it would be best to leave it alone.
In growing blue vervain, keep in mind that this plant needs little additional fertilizer other than spring compost, and deadheading is highly encouraged to produce more blooms. When the plant vines trail out of control, consider cutting back the vines by one-third to stimulate more side branching and flowering. The blue vervain may also pair up and mix and match, with other tall annuals like the salvia, cleome, heliotrope, preferably in containers atop a deck, patio, or near a window where there is more room for butterflies to approach. Taller varieties must grow in the back of annual and perennial flowerbeds to add some flair to the garden's midsummer and fall seasonal coloring.