How to Balance pH for Verbena: A Comprehensive Guide

Verbena is a beautiful flowering plant that adds vibrant colors to any garden. However, to ensure healthy growth and abundant blooms, it is crucial to maintain the right soil pH balance. In this article, we will guide you through the process of balancing the pH for verbena, including the identification process, specific caring techniques, and home remedies.

What is the Ideal pH Range for Verbena?

Verbena thrives in slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 5.8 to 7.2. When the soil pH falls below 5.8, it can lead to iron toxicity, which manifests as fine rusty to brown leaves on older foliage. On the other hand, a soil pH above 7.2 can hinder the plant’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, resulting in stunted growth and fewer blooms.

How to Test Soil pH for Verbena?

verbenaImage source: Pixabay

To determine the current soil pH, you can use a soil test kit or a pH meter. These tools are readily available at most garden centers or online. Follow the instructions provided with the kit or meter to accurately measure the soil pH.

What to Do When Soil pH is Too Low for Verbena?

If the soil pH is below 5.8, you need to raise it by adding lime to the soil. The amount of lime required depends on the soil type and the current pH level. As a general guide, use the following quantities of lime per 100 square feet of soil:

  • Sandy soil: 5 lbs of lime
  • Loamy soil: 7 lbs of lime
  • Clay soil: 8 lbs of lime
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Incorporate the lime into the top 6 inches of soil using a garden fork or tiller. Water the soil thoroughly after application. Wait for at least two weeks before planting verbena to allow the lime to take effect.

What to Do When Soil pH is Too High for Verbena?

verbena 2Image source: Pixabay

If the soil pH is above 7.2, you can lower it by adding elemental sulfur or a sulfur-containing fertilizer to the soil. The quantity of sulfur needed depends on the soil type and the current pH level. As a general guide, use the following amounts of sulfur per 100 square feet of soil:

  • Sandy soil: 1 lb of sulfur
  • Loamy soil: 1.5 lbs of sulfur
  • Clay soil: 2 lbs of sulfur

Mix the sulfur into the top 6 inches of soil using a garden fork or tiller. Water the soil thoroughly after application. Wait for at least two weeks before planting verbena to allow the sulfur to take effect.

How to Fertilize Verbena for Optimal Growth?

Once the soil pH is balanced, apply a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season to encourage more flowers and extend the blooming period. Use a water-soluble fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. Water the plant before applying the fertilizer to prevent fertilizer burn.

For container-grown verbena, fertilize every two weeks to sustain growth and flowers. In subtropical climates where verbena grows year-round, continue fertilizing as long as the plant is blooming. Stop fertilizing if the plant goes dormant.

What are the Home Remedies for Balancing Soil pH for Verbena?

In addition to using lime or sulfur, you can also employ home remedies to balance the soil pH for verbena. One effective method is to mix organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil. This not only improves soil structure but also helps regulate pH levels.

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To use compost or manure, apply a 2-inch layer on top of the soil and work it into the top 6 inches using a garden fork or tiller. This should be done at least two weeks before planting verbena.

Another home remedy is to use a slow-release fertilizer mix designed to promote flowering. These mixes often contain ingredients that help maintain a balanced soil pH. Follow the application instructions on the package for the best results.

How Long Does it Take to Balance Soil pH for Verbena?

Balancing soil pH is a gradual process and may take several weeks to a few months, depending on the initial pH level and the chosen treatment method. It is essential to retest the soil pH every 2-3 weeks to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.

During the treatment period, maintain consistent watering and ensure the verbena receives adequate sunlight (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day). The ideal temperature range for verbena growth is between 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C).

Conclusion

Balancing the soil pH for verbena is crucial for its healthy growth and abundant blooms. By following the steps outlined in this guide, including testing the soil pH, adding lime or sulfur as needed, applying balanced fertilizers, and using home remedies like compost or slow-release fertilizer mixes, you can create the ideal growing conditions for your verbena plants. Remember to be patient, as the process may take several weeks to a few months, and regularly monitor the soil pH to ensure it remains within the optimal range of 5.8 to 7.2.

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References:

  1. Verbena – Home & Garden Information Center, Clemson Cooperative Extension
  2. Growing Tips for Verbena – Greenhouse Grower
  3. Verbena Lanai Culture Guide – PW Four Star Greenhouse
  4. Fertilizing Verbena – Plant Addicts
  5. Verbena Plant Care – The Spruce