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In recent years the Lilac verbena has become widely recognized for being a premier butterfly attracting plant for gardens throughout the Inland Empire. Part of this is due to its long flowering cycle from spring into summer. Native to Cedros Island off Baja California, it grows into a loosely mounding perennial, 2-3 ft. tall and 2-3 ft. wide, occasionally wider.

One cultivar, V. l. 'De La Mina' is a popular cultivar due to its very uniform shape and deeper purple flowers. It grows best in sunny exposures, adapts to a variety of soil types with good drainage and can be clipped in fall to manage size and shape.

Water Needs

Lilac verbena and its cultivars grow well in Inland Empire gardens in areas of full sun and with low amounts of supplemental water. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. As shown in the chart below, there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water and you should make irrigation adjustments based on field observations of growth and character.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.
Width: 2 ft. - 4 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Purple
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Flowering accent plant, Banks, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces


Prune back about 1/3 of the leafy part of the stems each at least once a year to maintain nice form and leaf quality and to encourage new growth. This is best done after flowering in the fall or winter either with a pruner, or much more quickly with a manual hedge shear, cutting back into a nice roundish dome-like shape. Plants will rapidly begin to regrow. If desired, spent flower stems can be removed through the flowering season. this may extend the flowering season, but can be quite a lot of work if you have multiple plants. In many inland gardens, cutting back twice per year can be optimal for garden performance: Cut back once in late spring / early summer after spring blooms start to fade. Plants will grow back rapidly and rebloom. Then cut back in fall. It is best to avoid a significant cut back during the peak hot summer months if possible (S).



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