Drought Tolerant and Beautiful: Sandpaper Verbena

sandpaper verbena

I like to use plants in my garden that add a lot of color and the drought-tolerant and beautiful, sandpaper verbena certainly doesn’t disappoint.

sandpaper verbena

Its blossoms are a vibrant, deep purple that carpets the ground in a mass of glorious color from spring through fall.

The deep green leaves add a visually cooling element to the landscape as well.

Butterflies find the flowers irresistible too.  

See where this colorful ground cover gets its name and why you’ll want to include it in your drought-tolerant garden where it will add beauty to your outdoor space in my latest plant profile for Houzz.com


An Attractive, Drought-Tolerant Hedge for Southwestern Gardens: Hop Bush

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
11 replies
  1. Brian Derrick
    Brian Derrick says:

    That is a beautiful plant. From a distance it looks like purple trailing lantana. Any recommendations on where to find this in the valley? Does it grow like lantana and fit a similar profile?

  2. Denise
    Denise says:

    Hi! I look to your blog to find interesting plants for my garden here in the valley, and I only consider drought-tolerant species. I read your article on Houzz.com. There you state that this plant should be watered weekly in summer and and every 2 weeks spring and fall. That doesn't seem very drought-tolerant to me. I don't water anything that is not in a pot. If it's in the ground, it's on its own!

  3. arizonaplantlady@gmail.com
    arizonaplantlady@gmail.com says:

    Hello Brian.

    Great questions! Yes, sandpaper verbena has a similar growth habit to lantana. I would look for it at Summerwinds or other local nursery. You aren't likely to see it at your local big box store. You can always find it at the Desert Botanical Garden's fall plant sale in early October. I hope this helps!

    Noelle ' AZ plant lady'

  4. arizonaplantlady@gmail.com
    arizonaplantlady@gmail.com says:

    Hello Denise,

    Thank you for your comment. Sandpaper verbena is listed on numerous drought tolerant plant lists, both locally and nationally. As you pointed out though, the standards of what people consider drought tolerant can vary.

    Noelle 'as plant lady'

  5. Brian Derrick
    Brian Derrick says:

    I found some of this plant (only 1 or 2 left) at Summerwinds like you said. Hopefully I can get it established before it gets too cold. What is your experience with planting in September? I purchased a few native plants yesterday and was hoping to put them in the ground this weekend. Thanks in advance!

  6. arizonaplantlady@gmail.com
    arizonaplantlady@gmail.com says:

    Hi Brian,

    Fall is the best time to add new plants to the garden – October and November are best, but mid to late September is also fine too.

    *To help your sandpaper verbena get through freezing temperatures during their first winter, I would cover them when temps dip below 32 degrees. After their first year in the ground, they will better be able to handle frost.

    I'd love to hear how they do for you.


  7. Karen
    Karen says:

    I clicked on the link to your article, but it just goes to the Houze home page. Is it no longer available?

  8. Susan K...
    Susan K... says:

    Hello neighbor! I’m an AZ Plant Lady follower too 🙂 and headed to Summerwinds in search of this verbena. We’ve Finally started doing/re-doing our backyard and I’m going more native/xeriscape with our west side. I know this reply is only 2 1/2 years later, but hope yours is thriving. Full sun, afternoon shade?? Your front yard looks lovely. Take Care 🙂

  9. arizonaplantlady@gmail.com
    arizonaplantlady@gmail.com says:

    Hi Susan,

    I have my sandpaper verbena growing in full sun. It doesn’t look pretty in the winter, but looks good the rest of the year. I have plants nearby that bloom in winter, so no one notices the verbena at that time. Thank you for your kind comments. 🙂

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