South Texas Gardening with Bob Webster

Sweet Almond Verbena

Other Common Names: Incense Bush, Sweet Almond Verbena, White Almond Bush.
Family: Verbenaceae.
Cold Hardiness: Almond Verbena is an herbaceous perennial or dieback shrub in USDA zone 8 grading
to a large woody shrub or small tree in subtropical or tropical climates, zones 9 to 11.
Foliage: Evergreen, semi-evergreen, or deciduous; opposite or sub opposite; simple; 3O to 4O long; tips
acute; bases rounded to broadly acute; scabrous and dark lustrous green above, fuzzy pubescent and
lighter green beneath; leaves are stiff with margins scalloped to nearly serrate and overall undulate; the
pinnate veins are impressed above and raised beneath; overall coloration of summer foliage is gray green to medium green, but no fall color develops.
Flower: Dense 4O to 8O long axillary racemes of whorls of tiny white salver form flowers which emit a
sweet almond or vanilla-like fragrance; flowers are borne in successive whorls of five; the fragrance
is very strong, permeating an sizable zone downwind from a plant; recurrent flushes of flowers occur
almost continuously from spring to fall.
Fruit: Tiny dry nutlets; not ornamental; deadheading is not necessary to maintain bloom.
Stem / Bark: Stems — stiff; medium thickness; four-sided; initially green covered with clear to white
fuzzy pubescence; later losing the pubescence and developing numerous lenticels; older branches are
a smooth tan-brown with gray lenticels; Buds — divergent; very small, 1/16O or less; foliose; pubescent;
green to brown; flattened beneath where they press against the petiole; Bark — green to brown; often
with numerous gray lenticels.
Habit: Aloysia virgata is a moderately coarse textured upright multi-stem shrub with arching secondary
branches; in USDA zone 8, plants function best when treated as herbaceous perennials and pruned
back to within a few inches of the soil in winter; in zone 9 and milder, A. virgata can be used either as
a shrub or limbed up into a small tree; in colder climates it functions as a 3N to 6N annual; plants typically
grow 4N to 8N tall as a herbaceous perennials or dieback shrubs, but may reach 15N tall where fully
hardy as woody shrubs or small trees.
Cultural Requirements: Plants grow best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade; water needs are
moderate to low and heat tolerance is high; plants tend to grow over vigorously on fertile sites; this
species is at its best when treated as an herbaceous perennial or used as a summer annual in cooler
Pathological Problems: None of a serious nature as yet; with more widespread use some may
perhaps develop; spider mites and white flies sometimes infest other Aloysia.
Ornamental Assets: Almond Verbena is a very durable long blooming plant with highly fragrant
flowers; it is one of our most reliable plants for floral fragrance in summer landscapes, whether used
as an annual, herbaceous perennial or woody plant; attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.
Limitations & Liabilities: Plants tend to be overly vigorous and quickly out grow smaller sites; also,
while the flowers are attractive and highly fragrant, the overall form of the plant is rather rough and
a bit unkempt; the foliage is scratchy to the touch, avoid pedestrian contact; attraction of bees can be
a problem for those allergic to stings.
Landscape Utilization: Uses vary with region, in southern climes it can serve as patio tree for
fragrance or a component of a shrub border; in areas where it is less reliably stem hardy, it might serve
as a robust member of the perennial border or cottage garden; in colder climates, it could be grown
as an annual in a fragrance or butterfly garden, or perhaps as a container plant to add perfume to the
Other Comments: This species has not long been encountered in our regional trade, but it is growing
rapidly in popularity; regional cold tolerance is poorly defined and many folks underestimate its mature
size; the genus name honors the 18th century princess of Parma, Maria Louisa, wife of the King of Spain;
the specific epithet means twiggy.
Native Habitat: Argentina.


Sweet almond verbena-cuttings

Search: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What is your favorite flower?
View Results