Verbena - Verbena, Vervain

Flower Color

Height

Season

Pests

Uses

Propagation

lavender, purple, pink, red, peach, 

4"- 24"

spring, summer to frost

thrips, powdery mildew, whitefly

ground cover, bedding, hanging baskets, containers, border, background,

cuttings, seed

Performance - Verbenas are grown as annuals or perennials in Kentucky gardens. The plants are well adapted to Kentucky garden conditions and are tolerant of our hot summers and relatively tolerant of dry conditions. All grow best in full sun gardens. The spectacular colors of the new varieties make verbena a plant more Kentucky gardeners should try.

Verbena bonariensis - Brazilian Verbena - A tall, sparse plant that is generally perennial in Kentucky. Excellent plant for stressful Kentucky summers. If over-fertilized, grows to 4 feet and must be cut back. It was named for city of Buenos Aires, where it was first discovered. The panicle of flowers measures 2 inches across. A tender perennial, Zone 7-9, but it comes back reliably from seed. Unfortunately this plant has naturalized in the southeastern U.S.

Verbena canadensis - Clump Verbena, Rose Verbena - Outstanding plants for Kentucky gardens. Plants have a low spreading form and they flower profusely all summer. The creeping stems will root into the soil or mulch. These plants may be perennial in southern and western Kentucky and annuals in central, northern and eastern Kentucky. If they will be perennial, they will emerge late (late May or early June) so don't give up on them too early in the spring. These plants love hot weather and plenty of water and fertilizer. They tolerate drought reasonably well, but flowering and overall growth will slow considerably. Some types may self-sow each year. Newer varieties are patented, so they cannot be propagated and sold without permission from patent owner.

Non-patented – ‘Abbeville’, ‘Batesville Rose’, ‘Blue Princess’, ‘Appleblossom’, ‘Silver Anne’, ‘Big Red’, ‘Gene Cline’, ‘Homestead Purple’, ‘Snowflurry’, ‘Taylortown Red’.

Patented – each series has 6 to 12 separate colors; more details at the commercial websites.

‘Temari’ series, ‘Superbena’ series, ‘Tukana’ series – available from Proven Winners, www.provenwinners.com

‘Escapade’ series, ‘Lanai’ series, ‘Rapunzel’ series – available from Fischer USA, www.fischerusa.com

‘Wildfire’ series - available from Ball FloraPlant, www.ballfloraplant.com

 

Annual verbena at Bodger Botanicals

‘Superbena Coral’

Babylon Light Blue’

 

Verbena x hybrida - Annual Verbena - Annual verbena is a relatively common garden bedding plant sold across the state.
'Obsession' series, 'Peaches and Cream', 'Quartz' series, 'Romance' series, 'Novalis' series

Verbena tenuisecta - Moss Verbena - These plants may be perennial in southern and western Kentucky and annuals in central, northern and eastern Kentucky. If they will be perennial, they will emerge late (late May or early June) so don't give up on them too early in the spring. These plants love hot weather and plenty of water and fertilizer. They tolerate drought reasonably well, but flowering and overall growth will slow considerably.

       Patented – each series has 6 to 12 separate colors; more details at the commercial websites.

‘Aztec’ series, ‘Aztec Magic’ series – available from Ball FloraPlant, www.ballfloraplant.com

Babylon’ series – available from Proven Winners, www.provenwinners.com

       Non-patented – ‘Cotton Candy', 'Sissinghurst', 'Imagination', 'Sterling Star', 'Tex Tuf Purple'

More information and photos are available in HortFact 51.15 06 Verbena.


Vernonia noveboracensis

Vernonia noveboracensis - Ironweed

Flower Color

Height

Season

Pests

Uses

Propagation

purple

4' - 6'

late summer 

few

borders, meadows, native garden

seed, division

Performance - Ironweed is a reliable perennial in Kentucky gardens and is native to the state. Ironweed grows in full sun, well drained, moist soils. This is one of the showiest native wildflowers, but because it is invasive in pastures, many consider it an undesirable weed.

Comments - It can be seen growing along roadsides and meadows; there are 17 species native to America.  There are hybrid varieties which are more attractive than others.


Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’

Veronica - Speedwell

Flower Color

Height

Season

Pests

Uses

Propagation

dark blue, purple, white, rose

8"- 24"

summer

few

edging, perennial border, cut flower

seed, division, softwood cuttings


Performance - Speedwells are reliable perennials in Kentucky landscapes. In general, these plants are excellent additions to a perennial garden. They prefer full sun locations and well drained garden soils.

Comments - Flowers can last 6-8 weeks and should be dead headed for repeat bloom. Most will flower all summer with a little care.

Veronica austriaca - Austrian Speedwell - 'Crater Lake Blue', 'Blue Fountain'

Veronica spicata - Spiked Speedwell - 'Blue Spires', 'Noah Williams, 'Red Fox', 'Sunny Border Blue' (1993 Perennial Plant of the Year).

More information and photos are available in HortFact 50.13 06 – Speedwells.


Viola x wittrockiana - Pansy, Garden Pansy, Ladies Delight

Flower Color

Height

Season

Pests

Uses

Propagation

yellow, blue, orange, purple, cream, bronze-red, white

8 - 15"

spring, fall

few

bedding, edging

seeds

Performance - Pansy is typically grown as an annual in Kentucky gardens. Although it is probably best to think of them as a winter annual (planted and flower in the fall, over-winter, flower in the spring, deteriorate in the summer). Pansies are cool season plants; they prefer the cool weather of fall, winter and spring. The plants are very tough. Flowers are usually not damaged until temperatures fall below 15 F and leaves don't freeze until temperatures drop below 10 F. The root system will survive through the winter.

Comments - Pansies can be quite fragrant in the garden. Trials at the University of Kentucky have shown that over-wintered pansies will produce 30-50 flowers at the same time in early May, compared to spring planted plants that will only produce 4-6 flowers at the same time. However, pansies can be difficult to over-winter in Kentucky. If we get adequate snow cover, the pansies will be hardy through the winter. But if we have no snow cover and temperatures below 0 F., plants may be lost. Mulch does not seem to help this situation. It seems important, also, to plant pansies by mid October so the extensive root system can get established.

Varieties Many cultivars are available. Each series may have 8 to 20 different colors. In general, the small flower types have small, but many flowers and the most cold tolerance; medium flower types have medium flower size and number; large flower types have large, but fewer flowers.

  • small flowers (violas) - 'Penny' series, 'Gemini' series, 'Jewel' series, 'Princess' series, 'Sorbet' series
  • medium flowers - 'Accord' series, 'Baby Bingo' series, 'Crystal Bowl' series, 'Maxim' series, 'Panola Panache' series, 'Supreme' series, 'Ultima' series, 'Universal Plus' series.
  • large flowers - 'Atlas' series, 'Bingo' series, 'Crown' series, 'Dancer' series, 'Delta' series, 'Dynamite' series, 'Fama' series, 'Happy Face' series, 'Imperial' series, 'Majestic Giant' series, 'Super Majestic Giant' series.

‘Bingo’ pansies at Pan American Seed

‘Microla’ violas at Kieft Seed

More information and photos are available in HortFact 51.16 06 – Pansy, Viola.


Zantedeschia rehmannii - Calla Lily, Red Calla, Pink Calla

Flower Color

Height

Season

Pests

Uses

Propagation

orange, white

10" - 24"

summer

Japanese beetles

borders and edging

seeds

Performance - Callas are summer flowering bulbs are often grown as annuals in Kentucky gardens, yet they can be perennials as well. They should be planted in full sun to partial shade locations in well drained garden soils. It is important that the plants get plenty of water during the spring and summer if you hope they will be perennial.

Comments - Calla bulbs can be dug from the ground after the first frost in the fall and stored cool and dry until the next growing season. Removal of flowers and developing fruit will aid the production of more flowers.


Zinnia - Zinnia

‘Star Orange’, Star Gold’, ‘Star White’

Zinnia angustifolia - Threadleaf Zinnia
 

Flower Color

Height

Season

Pests

Uses

Propagation

orange, white

10"- 15"

summer

Japanese beetles

borders and edging

seeds

Performance - An excellent small flowered zinnia for Kentucky gardens that is resistant to typical zinnia diseases.
Comments - Many gardeners overlook this plant in garden centers, because it doesn't thrive in the cooler spring greenhouses.
Varieties – ‘Star’ series

Zinnia elegans - Common Zinnia  

Flower Color

Height

Season

Pests

Uses

Propagation

yellow, red, pink, cream and white

8 - 30"

summer

powdery mildew, Japanese beetles, bacterial leaf spot

border, edging and cut flower

seeds


Performance - Zinnias are good annual flowers for Kentucky gardens and are one of the best summer cut flowers. They do well in hot, dry weather; plant in good garden soil in full sun.
Comments - Cut the flowers for indoor use or dead head regularly to promote blooms. Diseases are a major problem, especially powdery mildew; expect plants to be damaged by leaf diseases by mid August. Zinnias are a common and successful summer cut flower often available at summer farmers' markets. Zinnias should not be placed in a cooler, like other cut flowers; best post harvest life occurs when plants are held at room temperature or just somewhat cooler.
Varieties - 'Dasher' mix, 'Dreamland' series, 'Peter Pan' series, 'Pulcino' mix, 'Short Stuff' series, 'Thumbelina' mix,
cut flowers - 'Benary's Giant' mix, 'Lilliput' mix, 'Oklahoma' series, 'Ruffles' series, 'State Fair' mix

 

‘Sun Red’

Plants damaged by powdery mildew

Zinnia trials at the UK Arboretum in 2006

 

‘Profusion Orange

Zinnia - 'Profusion' series

  Flower Color

Height

Season

Pests

Uses

Propagation

orange, rose-pink, white

15"- 24"

summer

Japanese beetles

borders and edging

seeds


Performance - An outstanding and recommended annual flower for Kentucky. The plants do best with hot, dry weather, but, like all zinnias, they are sensitive to frost. Good soil and water will give bright colored blooms.
Comments - A cross between Z. elegans and Z. angustifolia, obtains disease resistance from angustifolia and larger flowers from elegans. These varieties were developed by Sakata Seed America, Inc. The rose-pink flowers tend to fade as they age and in the heat of the summer.
Varieties – Seven colors are available in the ‘Profusion’ series. ‘Orange’, ‘Cherry’, and ‘White’ were All American Selections winners.

 

More information and photos are available in HortFact 51.17 06 – Zinnia.