Glandularia rigida

As its name indicates, this prolific bloomer, one of the hardiest of all the verbenas, has dark green foliage that feels like sandpaper. The plant develops tuberous roots that spread underground, and grows two feet tall and three to four feet wide. This fast-growing perennial develops bright clusters of vivid purple blossoms in early spring that continue to bloom during the warm weather. During the hot, summer months, it stops blooming and looks somewhat ratty. However, it bounces back in the fall with vivid color. In history, the plant was considered a sacred herb, and its stems were made into wreaths for rituals and healing. It is hardy to fifteen degrees Fahrenheit and will regrow quickly in the spring if frozen back. This groundcover is drought-tolerant when established, but likes moderate irrigation during the hot summer to produce blooms in the fall. The sandpaper verbena can be planted in well-draining, moist soil and in areas that receive lots of sun. Prune it moderately in early spring to promote blooming and shape, and give it light applications of ammonium phosphate fertilizer. Use it in borders, planters, containers, butterfly gardens, and wildflower gardens, and around pools, fountains, and water features. Also, use the sandpaper verbena in masses on banks and slopes for erosion control. It looks nice when planted with larger agave species and tall yucca plants. This plant is native to Argentina, southern Brazil, and Paraguay. It has been naturalized in the United States from southeastern North Carolina to Florida.

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