Verbena Wildfires (For Landscapers)
For landscapers, the verbenas you really want come from the Wildfire Series. Not all verbenas are created equal. Wildfires are more vigorous, so they really fill in a big bed fast. We are growing them in 4.5-inch and 6-inch pots only, because they WILL fill out. Our small pot will grow about a foot tall in short order, and it will color up about 18 to 24 inches of garden.
Wildfires also love the high heat of summer. They start out blooming in late May and June, but Wildfires really pump out strong August color when other verbena wilt under the stress. In fact, they do better in the strong direct sun, so they are perfect candidates for those parking strips, islands and other hard-to-fill places in commercial plantings. The color only starts to taper off in late September.
Wildfires also want to dry out between waterings. They are a lot more tolerant of wobbly or shifting watering schedules than other verbenas as well. Bear in mind, this does not make them cacti. They do need water, but they are probably more friendly to a property owner's schedule.
They only have two cultural weaknesses that we can see. First, Wildfires do not play well with other annuals. These are not mixing verbenas - these are showcase verbenas. We also think they do better in landscape beds than containers. You can grow them in big, monoculture containers, but they do grow towards the sun so they develop a strong lean over the pot by the end of the season.
The other key factor is air circulation. Wildfires want big and open spaces - breezy is good. In tight spaces or grown up against a solid fence or wall, they don't get the circulation they need and diseases start to set up shop.
You may know verbenas as cute and delicate things you find in combination baskets, but those verbenas are from other series. Verbena breeders have been busy over the past few decades, so they have found a lot of variability inside the genus. The Wildfire Series is a pretty recent innovation, so these plants are new on a lot of people's radar.
So, in a nutshell, the Wildfires are strong, robust heat-loving verbenas that can provide landscape power color in the teeth of August heat. You can see why we admire them, so we have strengthened our production this year and added a new color (Dark Purple) to our mix of Dark Red, Rose, Violet and White.