Blue Vervain is a valuable native Canadian species found in moist meadows, wetlands, roadsides and ditches. It produces a colourful show of tubular blue flowers on spikes from mid July through September. Flowers bloom on each spike a few at a time progressing from the bottom up. It is both very fast growing and easily grown from seed. While blue vervain is often included in wetland remediation mixes, it also makes a great addition to the formal perennial border. This tall plant grows from 90-120 cm (3-4') high, does best in full sun to partial shade and will readily self seed in moist, deep organic soils.
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3,500 seeds/gram. When direct sowing outdoors, due to seed dormancy caused by a hard, impermeable seed coat, the seed is best sown in late fall This allows the seed to be naturally stratified over the winter. Indoors, sow seed March 1st in a soil-less mix. Before sowing, nick or file the hard seed coat to improve germination or after sowing seed, water the growing medium and place in a freezer or outside for 4 to 6 weeks. It is best to just press the seed into the growing medium as it needs light to germinate. After cold stratifying, bring the container back to the warmth, place under lights and maintain a temperature within the medium of 20 C (70 F) for the 5-10 day germination period. After germination grow on under lights at a slightly cooler temperature then harden off and transplant outdoors to a sunny spot with moist to wet soil.
Start Indoors or Sow Direct in Fall
5 to 10
Medium Tall (90 to 120 cm)(36 to 48")
Prior Experience Beneficial
Native of Canada
Perennial border. Medium to moist to wet soil areas. Wetland naturalization and native habitat rejuvenation projects. Pollinator and butterfly plant.
Many native plants produce seed that is viable but dormant. This means that while the seed has all the internal structures and nutrients required to germinate, the seed coat is so hard, water cannot pass through it and initiate germination. When seed is in this state, it is known as being dormant. Seed dormancy is a naturally selected for trait that protects the seed of many plants allowing them to safely overwinter and then be ready to sprout in more favourable conditions in spring. The remedy to naturally breaking seed dormancy is typically the passing of time. In particular, seed overwintering outside and experiencing the natural freeze thaw cycles that occur in late fall, winter and early spring. To artificially break seed dormancy, sow the seed in a soil-less mix, water than chill in a refrigerator for a set period of time. This dormancy breaking process is called stratification.