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Verbena maritima Beach Verbena

Edward F. Gilman


This native verbena is well suited for along the coastal areas of Florida, but is now in danger of extinction in the wild (Figure 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.

Figure 1. Beach verbena
Figure 1.  Beach verbena


General Information

Scientific name: Verbena maritima
Pronunciation: ver-BEEN-nuh muh-RIT-tim-muh
Common name(s): beach verbena
Family: Verbenaceae
Plant type: ground cover; perennial; annual
USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Figure 2)
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
Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.



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


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


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


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


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.

Publication #FPS-598

Date: 10/25/2015

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About this Publication

This document is FPS-598, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman