Verbena officinalis is a rustic bushy plant grown in pots, in the garden and in the vegetable garden for its multiple medical-phytotherapeutic properties.
General characteristics of Verbena officinalis
There Officinal verbena, also known by several common names such as Sacred herb, Spleen herb and Naughty, is a perennial herbaceous plant of the Verbenaceae family native to Europe.It is widespread in the rustic state in most of Asia and Africa and North America. In Italy it grows up to 1500 meters above sea level.
Verbena officinale is a very long-lived perennial plant, which in optimal cultivation conditions forms a vigorous bush even more than 80 cm tall. It has erect quadrangular stems which over time tend to lignify at the base.
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The leaves they are opposite, oval or lanceolate of gray color and covered by a light down, they are of three types: the lower leaves have the lamina crenata and are petiolate; the intermediates are larger pinnatolobate or pinnatifid and with two large lobes at the base, and the upper leaves are sessile, crenate or whole.
THE flowers they are collected in lilac-colored spiked inflorescences that form at the armpit of small bracts. The corolla of the flowers is tubular with a jaw in five oval and unequal lobes. The Mocalice is tubular divided into 4-5 teeth.
THE fruits they are small heart-shaped achenes with 4 loggias that release fertile seeds when ripe.
THE seeds, they are small and light.
Verbena officinalis blooms from late spring to late autumn.
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Cultivation of Verbena officinalis
there Verbena officinalis as a rustic plant it develops well both in sunny and semi-shady places. In partial shade, the plant struggles to flower. It fears heavy rains; withstands the arid heat, even at low temperatures, but fears frost.
It grows well in calcareous soils, rich in organic matter and well drained.
It should be watered regularly throughout the vegetative cycle, especially during the flowering period.
during flowering, every 2 weeks with slow release liquid or granular fertilizers.
Verbena officinalis: cultivation in pots
Like the ornamental Verbena, this species is also a plant suitable for growing in pots on sunny balconies for many hours of the day. The specific soil for pot plants kept moist but never soaked with water, especially during the flowering period. It should be fertilized every 15 days during flowering. In winter, Verbena officinalis should be protected from frost, in a very bright place. It fears heavy rain and frost.
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Verbena officinale should be repotted in early spring. The larger pot than the previous one should be filled with a soil rich in humus and not clayey, draining.
Multiplication of Verbena officinalis
The multiplication of the verbena officinalis occurs in nature by self-seeding; for spring sowing; by cutting in summer and by division of the tufts.
Sowing takes place between February and March by spreading the verbena seeds in the moist soil of the seedbed and then covered with fine sand. The seedbed should be placed in a place protected from light and with a constant temperature of about 20 ° C. Once germination has taken place, the seedbed is moved to the light to allow the seedling to grow.
Multiplication by division of the tufts
This propagation technique should be practiced in spring or autumn on vigorous and healthy plants.
Multiplication by cuttings
The multiplication by cuttings must be done at the end of the summer, more precisely in August or early September. 8-10 cm long apical cuttings are taken from the branches; they are treated with a rooting hormone and then buried in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, always kept humid until new leaves appear. The container should be placed in a place with a constant temperature around 18-20 ° C. The cuttings that have rooted must be made to strengthen and then transferred to the final residence with great delicacy and with all the earthen bread.
To favor the emission of new shoots during the flowering season, the apical tops should be pinched at least once every ten days. The dry stems should be cut at the base of the soil.
Collection of verbena officinalis
The collection of flowers and leaves (fresh or dried) is practiced from spring spring to autumn even if according to ancient popular beliefs it is preferable to do it on June 24, St. John’s day or Night of the Witches, to fully benefit from its medical properties – therapies.
The flowering tops collected at the beginning of flowering, from July to August, gathered in bunches, hang to dry in the shade in an airy place; they are kept in paper or canvas bags.
Parasites and diseases of officinal vervain
It is a resistant plant and is rarely attacked by fungal diseases such as powdery mildew or white sickness and animal parasites such as aphids.
Cures and treatments
It is a plant that needs little care. Fungal diseases must be countered with products allowed in organic farming.
Uses of verbena officinalis
In gardening, the Verbena officinale is used to create borders, in the flower beds of aromatic herbs, along the fence walls and in pots on balconies and terraces.
Officinal verbena is a plant widely used in herbal medicine for its medicinal properties: anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, anti-neuralgic, purifying, diuretic, febrifugal. The herbal tea of this beneficial herb is recommended to treat stones, promote digestion and to treat nervous problems and insomnia.
Varieties of verbena
Among the many varieties, the best known is the “Aloysia triphylla“, Also called Verbena Limonina or lemon verbena for the pleasant lemon scent emanating from its leaves.
a vervain officinale, has been known since ancient times as a medicinal and magical plant. Only the mistletoe among the Gauls was considered more venerable, for the Romans the verbena conferred immortality on the brave, the magicians of the Middle Ages included it in their filters, healers of all ages have resorted to its mild but proven virtues.