A Verbena hybrid is the name given to a plant within the Verbena genus that has been cross-bred with another species of plant, usually another kind of Verbena. Plant hybridization is the process by which plants cross-pollinate, either naturally or by human intervention, and produce a new kind of plant. Verbena is a popular candidate for breeding because of its tolerance for warm climates and because of how easy it is to care for. These kinds of plants are also a favorite choice of gardeners who wish to attract butterflies or hummingbirds and are a frequent addition to butterfly gardens.
Creating a Verbena hybrid is similar to most plant breeding. The breeder selects the two plants that he wishes to cross, one designated as the source plant and the other as the recipient plant. Pollen is extracted from the stamen of the source plant and placed on the stigma of the recipient plant, which is the reproductive organ that receives pollen for fertilization. If performed correctly, the seeds produced by the plant following cross-pollination yield a hybrid of the source and recipient plants. For example, a common garden Verbena may be a hybrid of Verbena platensis and Verbana peruviana.
These kinds of plants generally thrive in areas with warm a climate and full sunlight, however most kinds of Verbena hybrids can tolerate a bit of shade as well. Ideally, their soil should not be overly dense or composed of too much clay as most Verbena species prefer an average, loam-type soil. The soil should remain relatively dry, so watering is necessary only occasionally, depending on the temperature. Most Verbena hybrid varieties can be grown in pots or in the ground and can even be grown in rock gardens or similarly restrictive environments. When left to their own devices, a cluster of Verbena hybrid plants may spread to nearby areas, something that gardeners who have other plants nearby usually want to be aware of.
A butterfly garden is a style of garden designed specifically for attracting butterflies, either for study or aesthetic pleasure. Well known for their ability to draw in butterflies, a group of Verbena hybrid plants is a common addition to this kind of garden, usually alongside other plants such as marigolds, lilacs, or lavender. Additionally, Verbena hybrid species have been reported to attract hummingbirds and are a popular natural alternative to a traditional hummingbird feeder.