The Complete Guide for Tall Verbena (Verbena Bonariensis) Care

The Tall Verbena, otherwise known as the Verbena Bonariensis or Purple Top Vervain, Brazilian Verbena, Upright Verbena, Argentinian Vervain, South American Vervain, Verbena bonariensis ‘Buenos Aires’, Verbena brasiliensis, is a rather well known perennial plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and fast growth, this perennial will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Tall Verbena Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Tall Verbena can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Tall Verbena needs soil that is constantly moist through regular watering.
  • Light: Keep your Verbena Bonariensis in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Tall Verbena in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Tall Verbena is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Verbena bonariensis buds

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Tall Verbena belongs to the Verbenaceae family, the genus Verbena and the species Bonariensis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Verbena Bonariensis.

As with other Verbena’s, the Tall Verbena is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

The Tall VerbenaSouth America.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Tall Verbena. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Verbena Bonariensis will be most used to the heat zones in the 7 – 12 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a and the ideal climate zone is between 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Tall Verbena is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Tall Verbena? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Verbena Bonariensis can grow up to 3′ – 6′ (90cm – 180cm) in 3′ – 6′ (90cm – 180cm) and 1′ – 3′ (30cm – 90cm) in 1′ – 3′ (30cm – 90cm). 

These dimensions make the Tall Verbena a relatively medium perennial compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 12″ – 18″ (30cm – 45cm) free so the Tall Verbena can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Tall Verbena is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Verbena Bonariensis needs soil that is constantly moist through regular watering.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Verbena bonariensis care


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Tall Verbena in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Tall Verbena then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Tall Verbena needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Tall Verbena prefers to have soil with good drainage properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Tall Verbena requires soil with clay, loam (silt), sand, and shallow rocky, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Tall Verbena requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this perennial will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Verbena Bonariensis in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a herbaceous plant, the Tall Verbena will die back to the ground every year. 

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Tall Verbena to flower around the summer and in the fall months from July to September (summer), and from October to December (fall).

In particular, this perennial is well known for its long bloom season, flowers for cutting and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Tall Verbena produces some beautiful purple, or purple/lavender flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Tall Verbena have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a opposite organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Verbena Bonariensis to be around (3-6 inches) in size.

Verbena bonariensis and bees

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Tall Verbena is well known for being able to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for drought and animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Verbena Bonariensis will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Tall Verbena? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Verbena Bonariensis owners agree that this perennial will look great in most mediterranean, cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, gravel and rock garden, and in prairie and meadow styles. 

In particular, the Tall Verbena’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, others use it for landscaping in a mass planting, border, cutting garden, or a rock garden.


Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Tall Verbena, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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