Hoary Vervain Plants for Buckeye Butterflies!
Verbena stricta is a native wildflower also known as Hoary Vervain, Hoary Verbena, Tall Vervain, and Woolly Verbena. It is a host plant of the Common Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia) and is also used by other butterflies and pollinators as a nectar plant.
Hoary Vervain has the additional bonus of supporting wildlife as its seeds provide food for small mammals and some birds. The bitter leaves, however, make this plant unattractive to deer.
Characteristics of Verbena Stricta
This verbena has earned the name Woolly Verbena due to its hairy foliage (gray-green color). The plant grows from 2-4′ tall.
Tall Vervain is hardy in zones 3-8 and is a short-lived herbaceous perennial that readily reseeds, forming non-aggressive clumps. It is an upright plant with a long bloom time of pinkish-lavender flowers appearing on spikes from mid to late summer.
This verbena prefers full sun and does well in many soil types. It can often grow even in poor, dryish, sandy, soils or soils with some clay. It prefers medium to dry conditions and is drought tolerant.
Starting Hoary Vervain Seeds
Hoary vervain seeds will grow readily but only after 60 days of cold stratification (or sow in the fall/winter for natural stratification). After they are cold stratified (mix with moist sand/vermiculite or a damp paper towel and place in a baggie in refrigerator), surface sow them and keep them moist. These seeds need light to germinate so do not cover the seed. Space or thin plants to about 1′ apart.
Hoary Vervain is an attractive Native Wildflower that can bring Common Buckeyes and other Butterflies to your Butterfly Garden!