Sweet Almond Verbena (Aloysia vigrate)

It may seem a little late in the year to be profiling sweet almond verbena, but I still think it’s worth the investment so you can enjoy the awesome fragrance of this durable flowering plant up until the first frost. I will forewarn, though, that if you are going to keep it in a container, be prepared to move it or protect on hard freeze nights.

Almond verbena has white, almond-scented flowers that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The shrub grows to 10 feet and is root-hardy with sandpapery, deciduous foliage. Prune it in early spring and between bloom cycles for denser growth.

Technically, it is known as Aloysia virgate, and aside from its great fragrance, some other attributes that make it a must-have in Southeast Texas:

  1. They are deer resistant
  2. They are good in sun and light shade.
  3. They always seem to come back from the roots, no matter how bad the winter.

This plant can get very tall, so it can get too leggy for my taste. That’s why I encourage a couple of prunings during the year. I think 10-12 feet tall and about 3-4 feet wide is good.

Be sure to plant them near a patio or porch to get the full effect of its strong but delicately sweet fragrance. Almond verbena is a repeat bloomer, usually from late spring through fall, maybe taking a break during the hottest time of an extremely hot, dry summer.

Listed as hardy to USDA Zone 9, almond verbena will be deciduous, especially in mild winters. But even if it doesn’t die back to the ground, it will perform best if you treat it as you would other root-hardy perennial shrubs, shearing it back to the dirt in late winter. This hard pruning forces the plant to put on new growth, making it fuller, greener, and bushier. A little light pruning in mid-summer can reinvigorate the plant for fall growth.

Plant almond verbena in well-drained soil and water it sparingly, but regularly. Once a week watering should be fine, and fertilizer is not necessary if you have healthy soil and use compost as mulch. But if you want to give it an extra boost from time to time, saturate the soil with a liquid organic fertilizer like Medina Hasta Gro 6-12-6 when doing a weekly watering.

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