Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’ -Lilac Verbena (Cedros Island Verbena)

By Dan Songster, Golden West College Native Garden – 2011 March

Type: Evergreen Perennial
Light: Full to part sun
Soil: Adaptable
Water: Adaptable

This lovely plant is found on Cedros Island off the West coast of Baja California, so although it’s a Baja native it is part of the California Floristic Provence. This darker flowered form named ‘De La Mina’ was discovered by horticulturist Carol Bornstein during a trip with Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

This plant quickly forms a mound about 24 inches high (give or take) and 3-4 feet wide. With its delicately dissected green foliage and soft purple flowers blooming nearly year round, this is an eye-catching addition to any Southern California garden. And don’t be fooled by its delicate beauty-this is one tough and versatile garden performer, accepting a variety of soils without complaint, taking drought conditions, and is even somewhat resistant to deer nibbling. If that is not enough to recommend it to have a place in your garden, it also possesses a light spicy fragrance and the flowers attract numerous butterflies!

But my favorite part about this enduring perennial is its long blooming period and ease of care. Plants can bloom most of the year with a peak in spring and summer and although it does best with well drained soil, it will take clay (like in the GWCNG) if not overwatered. A light shearing in winter is all that’s required to maintain its tight and tidy appearance.

A good choice for mixed borders, a walkway border, as a bank cover, in decorative pots, even as an addition to a butterfly garden. It combines well with sages, mints and buckwheats and would be at home as a focal point in small to midsized gardens.

Like to see it in bloom? In the GWC Native Garden It currently resides in the “wildflower corner” beneath our large coast live oak. Enjoy!


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