Also known as Purpletop Verbena or Purple Vervain, this has proven to be one of my favorites this summer. Somehow, the blossoms seem to have lasted all summer. It has grown quite tall and has a lovely airy look.
A favorite with butterflies, it has also been a hummingbird magnet. Even though it is in a deck planter right next to the dining table, the hummingbirds come darting in for a sip of the nectar, ignoring us humans. One morning, a female hummingbird came, and as she pulled away from the flower, one of the little florets stuck to her beak, it was adorable.
The online database FLORIDATA has some good information about this plant, which unfortunately appears to be an aggressive self-seeder in some warmer climates. I hope that won't be the case here, because I've loved it this summer, and plan to grow it again next year.
The nicotiana sylvestris, while incredibly dramatic, had no scent to speak of, and has proven to be an aphid magnet. While the plant was striking for much of the summer, it has become scraggily
with the need for constant deadheading of its sticky flowers, and bug-ridden. Based on its performance this year, I'll think twice about trying this one again.