In The Garden: Sweet almond verbena smells so sweet
Only a small number of plants provide the long-blooming season of Aloysia virgata (sweet almond). Part of the Verbenaceae family, it is also known as the incense bush. Given full sun, they bloom virtually year-round in Southwest Florida and provide a delightful fragrance that is sure to be a desired plant for your garden.
It is a perfect choice for a moonlight or “white” garden with its silver/gray foliage and white flowers. When the moonlight hits, the garden will look as if it is glowing. The tiny white flowers attract birds, butterflies and honeybees galore, and did I mention the fragrance? Its intoxicating scent is far reaching and long lasting. You can take an evening stroll and still catch the sweet fragrance in the breeze from dozens of feet away.
The plant is fairly hardy and grows quickly with heights reaching from 6 feet to 8 feet or even 15 feet to 20 feet and requires 36 inches to 48 inches of spacing. It responds best to pruning, which allows more flowers to bloom throughout the year and to maintain the evergreen leaves that keep their color. It can also be pruned to keep at particular sizes to stay in planted pots wherever you want to place them.
The plant roots easily from stem cuttings taken before the plant blooms in spring. You can also take cuttings in late summer and grow them indoors, allowing you to enjoy the sweet smell indoors. It is drought tolerant, can handle full sun and requires watering sparingly, but regularly.
In The Garden is a joint effort by all at the local garden center, at 3889 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel. For more information, contact 239-395-5859 or visit www.facebook.com/rswalshinthegarden.