Verbena 'Homestead Carpet Red'

Common Name: verbena 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Verbenaceae
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to frost
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7b-10. In St. Louis (USDA Zone 6), it is usually grown as an annual in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best flowering usually occurs in full sun. Plants have good heat and drought tolerance. Avoid overhead watering to the extent possible. This verbena is a seed strain that can be started indoors 8-10 weeks before last spring frost date. Plants may also be purchased in six packs from local nurseries. Place plants outdoors in spring after last frost date. Young plants may be pinched to promote bushier growth. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom. Plants may decline in summer periods of prolonged hot and dry conditions. Propagate by terminal cuttings taken in late summer and overwintered indoors. Containers may be overwintered indoors. Or new plants may simply be purchased or grown from seed each spring. If perennial growth is attempted in St. Louis, plants must be sited in protected locations.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Verbena is a genus of about 250 species of annuals, perennials and subshrubs from temperate and tropical areas of the Americas with a few from Southern Europe. They are grown for their showy flowers.

Genus name comes from a Latin name used for some plants in religious ceremonies and also in medicine.

'Homestead Carpet Red' is a verbena that features an extremely long and heavy late spring to fall bloom of showy red flowers in clusters rising on short stems above a spreading foliage mat of deeply lobed medium green leaves. It is typically grown as an annual north of USDA Zone 7. Even in Zone 7 and south, this perennial can be somewhat temperamental and may not always survive cold wet winters. During growing season, however, it grows vigorously with a continuous, rampant and often spectacular bloom. Decumbent stems clad with deeply lobed, ovate, medium green leaves (to 3" long) trail along the ground, rooting as the touch, to form a foliage mat to 30" wide. Red flowers in rounded clusters (to 3" diameter) bloom profusely on small upright spikes rising above the foliage mat to 6-12" tall. Each flower cluster contains numerous, small, 5-petaled red florets (each to 1/2" wide). Parents of this plant are unknown, but one of the parents may be Glandularia canadensis (formerly known as Verbena canadensis).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew may occur. Watch for spider mites.

Garden Uses

Ground cover for sunny garden areas. Beds, borders, rock gardens or edging. Window boxes, baskets and containers. May be grown as an annual.