No color stirs the passion in serious gardeners like blue. Sure, we like orange, yellow, red and pink, but blue is the must-have color for mixed containers and baskets. It is like having sapphires in our pocket plantings by the front entrance to the home. It is for this reason The Garden Guy was eager to put Superbena Imperial Blue verbena to the test.
Not only did I parse out my supply of Imperial Blue to various baskets and containers, but I gave some to my son, James, the guru of all things color, in the commercial landscape. As usual, he beat me like a drum in design, but I'm used to it.
Superbena Imperial Blue will arrive at your garden center in spring 2022. So put on your stealth camo and be ready. I expect (as usual) there will not be enough to go around for all who want this new verbena. There is a reason it is called Imperial. It is nothing short of intense in color. It's the blue that makes your heart race.
If you have not tried Superbena verbenas, you need to get on the train. I am in my third year with Superbena Stormburst, and the best white on the planet, Superbena Whiteout. Despite all the other butterfly plants I have in my garden, the Superbenas seem to always be attracting attention — not just from butterflies, but hummingbirds, too.
Like most of the other Superbenas, Superbena Imperial Blue will get 5 to 12 inches tall with a spread of 30 inches. They need fertile, well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight to reach their true performance potential. For the most part, Superbenas are considered an annual, one certainly of exceptional value.
I live in zone 8a, and in my zone and warmer we may just get them to return in the spring, which prompts a breakout of the perennial happy dance. The caveat is good soil drainage. James and I also believe in cutting the verbena back periodically to keep rejuvenating growth and new blooms coming. It also helps to minimize chances for spider mite infestations.
In my baskets and containers I partnered Superbena Imperial Blue verbena with other new plants coming out in 2022 like Boldly Coral geranium and Supertunia Vista Jazzberry petunia. James, on the other hand, created dazzling horse troughs, partnering the Imperial Blue with Superbena Whiteout, Supertunia Bordeaux, Luscious Bananarama lantana and the new Suncredible Saturn bush sunflower, also debuting in 2022.
From a pollinator standpoint, it has really been incredible. Eastern tiger swallowtails, spicebush swallowtails and pipevine swallowtails have all found Superbena Imperial Blue to be a regular feeding location. But smaller butterflies like the American lady also make frequent visits. I suppose the most exciting of all is seeing the ruby-throated hummingbirds make visits. Make sure you try the Superbenas in baskets — I think the off-the-ground aspect plus cascading flowers are a natural attraction for the hummers.
(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)
(NOTE TO EDITORS: Norman Winter receives complimentary plants to review from the companies he covers.)©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC