The Q&A Archives: Wilting Verbena

Question: I have a verbena I went away for three days, but watered it well before leaving. When I returned it had turned all brown. It said it was heat tolerent and needed a well drained soil between watering. I don't know what happened to it. Could you please shed some light on it for me? The very bottom seems to have a little green starting to grow. Could you please tell me what I need to do.

Answer: I can understand your confusion with what seems like the contradiction that a plant is heat-tolerant and needs a well-drained soil. Vebenas are touchy that way, as are some other herbs like lavender and rosemary. They need frequent watering and can't stand to have waterlogged soil, but also love the heat. Next time you take a vacation away, have someone check on your plants for you, or purchase an automatic watering device (Gardener's Supply Retail store in Burlington offers a number of different kinds). To encourage your plant to regrow, cut the stems back to near where the new leaves are sprouting up, and they'll healthy and strong. I've seen many a verbena resurrected in this way! Good luck!

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