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New verbena is super for Southern gardens
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Superbena is sure to be hot this year, so get ready to look for this new verbena at a local garden center while supplies last.
Superbena certainly does look to be super and even monolithic in size by verbena standards, but gee, how about a better name? Obviously Proven Winners knows how to produce good plants and make a fortune without me, so I'll stop whining.
The blooms are larger and more colorful than other verbenas, and the plants are disease resistant. The Superbena will be available in seven colors, one or two that are sure to please even the most persnickety of shoppers. I am particularly fond of the coral red and the burgundy selections that are richly saturated in color and complemented by large, deep-green leaves. Grow several. If your neighbors don't thank you, the swallowtail butterflies will.
To have the most success, select a site in full sun with well-drained soil. Soggy, winter soil is the enemy that can prevent a spring return. Plant nursery-grown transplants this spring at the same depth they are growing in the container, spacing 12 to 18 inches apart. Water to get established, but then sparingly, depending on the weather.
The verbena responds to feeding every four to six weeks with a light application of a slow-release, 12-6-6 fertilizer. Just as important as feeding is cutting back to rejuvenate vegetative growth and produce more blooms. This verbena rewards those who cut back. Leaving all the old stems because of four or five flowers will hurt the verbena and make the gardener unhappy with this great plant.
With seven colors available, almost any color scheme can be accommodated. Try Superbena dark blue with orange companions like Profusion Orange zinnia, marigolds or Samson lantana. Use Superbena blue purple with yellow flowers like New Gold lantana, melampodium and Gold Star esperanza. Use them as understory plantings to the buddleia or butterfly bush for an even more spectacular butterfly garden.
They are also outstanding in mixed baskets and containers. You could hardly pick a better plant to cascade over a window box.
In addition to the new Superbena this spring, look for new colors in the Tukana and Aztec series. Don't forget about old favorites like Homestead Purple that was a Louisiana Select and Georgia Gold Medal winner and Biloxi Blue that was a Mississippi Medallion winner. The Wildfire, Princess, Tapien and Babylon series offer not only great performance but also a wide choice of colors. The Escapade, Lanai, Rapunzel and Twilight series with several colors are receiving good reviews.
Verbenas have undergone huge changes in the last decade making these choice plants for the perennial, cottage or butterfly garden. As typical to many first-year plants, you'll need to be on your shopping toes to get these new Superbena selections before they sell out.