Pruning & Deadheading Verbena

Verbenas are known as low-maintenance plants, and they are, but taking the time to cut them back can help the plant thrive and maintain the look you want for your outdoor space. Each growing season is different, so you may not always need to cut back your Verbena plants. If your plants are looking leggy or you want to make the most of the blooming period, trimming your Verbenas can help.


When to Prune Verbena

Perennial Verbenas can be trimmed in the spring to help shape the plant and help promote new growth. Upright Verbenas can handle being trimmed back during the growing season if the plant gets too tall for your space. Trailing Verbenas can also be cut back at any time during the growing season if the plant becomes leggy.

Deadheading Verbena or removing spent flowers maintains a clean appearance and allows the plant to refocus its energy into even more flowers. Leave any dead growth to protect the plant during the winter and trim it back in the spring.

How to Prune Verbena

Step 1 - Look at the shape of the Verbena plant.

The plant should look even and consistent. Identify any areas that are dead or overgrown.

Step 2 - Remove sections using clean, sharp pruning shears.

Snip off dead growth and even up stems to create a consistent look.

Step 3 - Remove spent blooms.

Trim off any dead flower clusters to keep a neat look while also promoting more blooms.


How to prune for Winter/Spring/Fall/Summer

Annual Verbena plants can be cut back in the fall. Perennial Verbena will grow year-round in subtropical climates. In this type of environment, it is only necessary to trim back dead growth as it occurs. In most other regions, perennial Verbenas will need to overwinter. Leave any dead growth in the fall, as this can help protect the plant during the winter. When the temperature is consistently warm in the spring, you can trim back and remove the dead growth to prepare for the new growth to emerge. 


Why Prune Verbena

Cutting back a Verbena will rejuvenate the plant and encourage it to push out new growth, creating a full look. If a trailing Verbena looks leggy or the stems are sparse, cutting the plant back will allow it to grow back with a more compact and full appearance. The same is true for upright varieties; if the plant is overgrown and not as full as you would like, cutting them back can give the Verbena the chance to start over.

Verbena Pruning Tips

  • Trim Verbena in the spring to remove dead or overgrown sections.
  • Verbena can be pruned throughout the growing season to maintain a consistent look.
  • Do not cut back more than one-third of the plant. Verbena can recover from a slight trim, but removing more could stunt the growth. 
  • Clean your pruning shears or scissors before and after use to prevent the spread of bacteria or fungus.


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 Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 13-12-2021