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The Sandpaper verbena gets its name from its rough textured leaves that feel like sandpaper when touched. It is a low spreading perennial with unique flattened stems and deep purple flowers in the spring. It can reach 8-12 in. high, 3-4 ft. across in 2-3 years time.

The Sandpaper verbena is native to South America, but shows wide adaptability to Inland Empire gardens when planted in sunny and warm locations. It grows well on banks, along walks and among rocks in southwestern and Mediterranean style gardens, and can be clipped in the winter to maintain its size. It is a colorful perennial that grows best for 3-5 years for its floral impact.

Water Needs

The Sandpaper verbena is well adapted to warm microclimate locations in the Inland Empire where it thrives in sun, normal winter rainfall and low amounts of summer water. Monthly deep watering from spring through fall will enhance its spring flowering cycle and help maintain good foliage character. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when 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 depending upon exposure conditions and size.

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
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 8 in. - 12 in.
Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Purple
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Frost, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Raised planters, Flowering accent plant, Borders, Banks, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces


Sandpaper Verbena usually dies back all the way to the ground, or at least significantly, during the winter. When this happens, cut it all the way to the ground with pruners, hedge shears, or a high powered string trimmer, depending on the size of the planting. It can also be lightly pruned at any time of the year to clean up and maintain its size. Sandpaper verbena spreads by roots, and can do so aggressively in the garden. Plan to either dig it out once it grows where you do not want it. If the parts you dig out have roots, they can either be transplanted or potted up into a container with potting soil and given away. You can also consider installing a root barrier to help keep the plant "in bounds," (S).



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