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ALOYSIA virgata

Image of Aloysia virgata

James Burghardt

Family

Verbenaceae

Botanical Name

ALOYSIA virgata

Plant Common Name

Sweet Almond Shrub, Sweet Almond Verbena

General Description

Perfuming the air, the white flowers of sweet almond verbena attract bees and butterflies. Native to the drier subtropical parts of northern Argentina, this fast-growing evergreen shrub is almost ever-blooming. It is an upright plant but will look rounded with its many horizontal, weeping branches. The oval, gray-green leaves have small teeth on their edges, and overall have a fine sand-papery texture. Towards the tips of the new growth, many small flowerspikes jut out horizontally from the leaf bases, filled with hundreds of tiny white flowers. Smelling intensely of honey, the fragrance is perhaps most intoxicating and pleasant a short distance from the plant and diluted by a gentle breeze. Butterflies and bees of all types will dance between the blossoms pollinating the flowers.

Grow sweet almond verbena in full sun in any average to fertile well-drained soil. It quickly becomes drought tolerant and a truly low-maintenance plant. In cold winter regions, the plant will be deciduous and likely die back to the roots, coming back during spring’s warmth and blooming later in summer. Elsewhere in frost-free areas it will remain evergreen and continue to bloom in flushes, especially if tips of stems are selectively trimmed back, allowing for fresh new growth and flowers. This shrub tolerates heavy, almost abusive pruning, which allows you to keep it as a smaller shrub. Otherwise it will grow quite tall and requires support so to not topple over in winds. Use it in the mixed perennial border, either as a short plant or larger, impressive shrub in the background. It can also be maintained in a container for the patio, where guests would be surrounded with the floral fragrance.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 7

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    8'-15' / 2.4m - 4.6m (10)

  • Width

    5'-10' / 1.5m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Argentina

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Gray Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No