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Publication #FPS-598

Verbena maritima Beach Verbena1

Edward F. Gilman2

Introduction

This native verbena is well suited for along the coastal areas of Florida, but is now in danger of extinction in the wild (Fig. 1). Its tolerance to salt air and water makes it a great, perennial dune stabilizer. It adds color to the ground year-round. Purple or lavender flowers borne in clusters at the top of this 12-inch-tall ground cover stand out against the fine-textured foliage. Stems creep along the ground and root to bind the sand together. Sand builds up around the stems and foliage, helping prevent wind from blowing it back from the beach.

General Information

Scientific name: Verbena maritima
Pronunciation: ver-BEEN-nuh muh-RIT-tim-muh
Common name(s): beach verbena

Figure 1. 

Beach verbena


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Family: Verbenaceae
Plant type: ground cover; perennial; annual
USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Fig. 2)
Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


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Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: ground cover; attracts butterflies; mass planting; naturalizing; container or above-ground planter
Availability: grown in small quantities by a small number of nurseries

Description

Height: .5 to 1 feet
Spread: 3 to 5 feet
Plant habit: spreading
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: lobed
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: bowed; pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not applicable

Flower

Flower color: purple; lavender
Flower characteristic: year-round flowering

Fruit

Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: moderate
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: plant has winter interest due to unusual form, nice persistent fruits, showy winter trunk, or winter flowers
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: aggressive, spreading plant
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

To establish a solid ground cover, plant about 4 feet apart. Stems creep along the soil and plants will form a complete cover 18 to 24 months after planting. Plant in the full sun for fastest growth and best flowering. Foliage remains dark green with little or no care once plants are established. Although the plant is native to beaches, it should perform well in dry, inland landscapes in full sun.

Pests and Diseases

Few problems should impact this native verbena, provided it is not irrigated too much.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS-598, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date October 1999. Revised May 2007. Reviewed June 2011. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.