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Almond Verbena - A Honey Bee Magnet
 


Dirt Doctor Weekly Newsletter

A
lmond Verbena  -  A Honey Bee Magnet

             
  

Also called sweet almond verbena (Aloysia virgata), this is the most beneficial insect-attracting plant I have ever grown. The fragrance is wonderful.

LOCATION:
  
It thrives in full sun but can adapt to partial shade. In the US
, it grows from Missouri south and does particularly well in California and Texas. It is hardy in the southern areas of the UK and would be very successful in Australia.

HABIT: 
Large deciduous woody shrub or perennial for full sun to light shade.
Spikes of white blooms all summer.  Strongly resembles Buddleia. Mostly evergreen, with fine-textured gray-green foliage. Height 10' � 15'. Spread 8' � 10'.

CULTURE
:  Few if any disease and insect pest problems. Easy to grow in well-drained beds in most soils. It has low water and fertilization requirements. Prune between bloom cycles for dense growth. Hardiness zone 8 � 11. Prune away dead wood early spring at bud swell.

USES:  Summer color, very pleasant and strong fragrance.


PROBLEMS: 
Freeze damage in colder areas. Not as easy to find as it should be. The main drawbacks to sweet almond verbena are its rarity in nurseries and cold hardiness. In cold winter locales, it may die to the ground and sprout again in spring.

NOTES:  Native of Argentina, it has an upright habit with slightly weeping, sometimes ungainly branches. In mild winter areas, the mature plants reach 15 feet in height and 6 feet in width. At the branch tips are highly fragrant, delicate white flower spikes which sway gracefully at the slightest breeze, sending their aroma wafting over great distances. The buddleia-like flowers are produced in cycles from early spring through summer to fall. They are enchanting on a warm summer's evening. The flowers are also a magnet to butterflies, bees, wasps and other nectar feeding pollinators.


                                             



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Dear Dirt Doctor:
Thank you for recommending the Almond Verbena.
I heard you mention it on your Sunday morning show about a year ago and started looking for one then. You said they were difficult to locate.  Stuart Nursery & Landscaping in Weatherford located a source and we planted this one about 4 weeks ago.  Just as you said, it started blooming almost immediately and we can detect its sweet aroma as we walk down the drive. 
Thank you again for your recommendation.

 Steve & Patti Holmes


If you have any questions regarding this newsletter or any other topic, join me for my radio show heard in Dallas/Fort Worth on Saturday at 11am and across the country on Sunday from 8 - 11am (CST). 
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Naturally yours,

Howard Garrett
The Dirt Doctor


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