Q: I planted ‘Homestead Purple’ verbena almost two years ago. Last year it bloomed just about year round because the weather did not get cold enough to hurt it. This year it has been pretty much completely bitten back. Should I trim off the dead looking parts?
A: Trim away! And while you’re at it, do some chopping as well! ‘Homestead Purple’ verbena makes blooms on the tips of stems that have recently emerged. As a consequence, however, you’ll notice that as the plant grows it develops a bright purple doughnut of blooms around a flowerless brown center. In addition, the stems will root in spots where they touch the earth. Yearly maintenance of your verbena includes trimming the whole area down to three inches high in March. In addition, chop through the mat of stems in several places to stimulate new growth close to the center of the clump. You’ll have the brilliant blooms you admire once again this year from April to October.