5 Reasons Why Your Verbena Leaves Turning Brown-Solutions

If you suddenly find your verbena plant’s leaf turning brown, and you don’t know what you should do to revive your plant. Don’t worry! you’re not alone.

Good News: verbena leaf discoloration is not always a cause for alarm. Most of the time this is due to some reasons which are very easy to recover from. 

But first of all the question is what conditions make them brown? 

Poor quality soil, Iron deficiency, Excess Fertilizer, Pests and diseases, and Pruning mistakes are the very common reasons for verbena leaves browning.

In this article, I’ll help you find out the main reason and give you a complete solution of all problems. So let’s get started.

 Quick Guide

verbena Care



Poor soil qualityUse well-drained, air-circulated, and slightly acidic soil.
Iron deficiencyUse a liquid or powdered iron supplement.
Excess fertilizerApply a fertilizer of 20-20-20 twice a month.
Pests Use good quality organic insecticides.
Pruning mistakesOnly during the growing season.

Reasons And Fixes For Verbena Brown Leaves

Verbena Leaves Problem

1. Your Soil Is Not Air Circulated And Well Drained

You don’t have to be a soil scientist to know the role of soil for a plant. Poor quality soil does not have the ability to circulate air properly. When you don’t have enough air circulation, your verbena roots can’t breathe and cause root failure. Which can make your plant’s leaf brown.

If your pot soil is waterlogged it can’t drain the excess water and excess water is the cause of the root rot problem. A root rot not only makes your verbena leaves brown but also makes your plant floppy, develop white spots, and affects blooming.

Take a look at your verbena plant very carefully. If it shows brown leaves, floppy leaves, and not blooming like problems then it might be for poor quality soil.

How To Treat

Verbena plants prefer well-drained, air-circulated, and slightly acidic soil. By managing the soil quality you can solve 70% of your plant’s problems.

Ensure 35% of river sand, 30% of garden soil, 20% of organic compost, and 15% of cocopeat when making the soil for your verbena plants. The pH of the soil should be 5.5 to 6.5.

Pot selection is also an important issue. Choose the best-sized pot and make sure it has three to five drainage holes. It is better to use ceramic pots instead of plastic. 

2. Your Plant Has Iron Deficiency

You must know that plants need some nutrients along with everything else to grow properly.  Zinc, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus are among them. Each nutrient has its own role.  Basically, iron deficiency is one of the causes of verbena leaves turning brown.

Chlorophyll plays a role in making food in every green plant.  Iron is mainly involved in chlorophyll synthesis in leaves.  When your verbena plant suffers from an iron deficiency, the chlorophyll in its leaves will not develop properly. As a result, its leaves become brown.

Several factors are responsible for iron deficiency. If you use heavy alkaline soil in your pot then nutrition imbalance can happen. Again high pH range, excess manganese, copper, and zinc levels in the potting soil can decrease iron levels. 

Excess and less watering, the presence of excess phosphorus, low root temperature, and too much sunlight can also decrease the iron level of your verbena plants.

Observe your plant for several days. If its leaves suddenly turn yellow and green veins are evident, and the leaves start to fall, then these are definitely signs of iron deficiency.

How To Treat

A pH test is the first thing to do if you think your plants are iron deficient. You have to use a digital pH meter to measure the soil pH range. (our pick: XLUX Soil Moisture Meter)

If you get a pH above 7 then it is too high and harmful for verbena plants. Add some aluminum sulfate or sulfuric acid to reduce the pH range.

If it is not a pH related problem then you should focus on boosting iron levels. Liquid iron and powder iron are the two main sources of iron that can be added externally. Liquid iron is iron sulfate that you should spray on your plants twice a week. You have to spread the powdered iron at the base of the plant. It is also similarly effective to reduce the pH level.

3. You Are Using Too Much Fertilizer

Every plant requires some fertilizer mixed with water to ensure quality growth. However, over-fertilizing might seriously harm your plant.

Excessive fertilizer is not necessary for verbena plants. The main effect of excess fertilizer on verbena is ‘burning’. various types of salt present in the fertilizer occur reverse moisture by osmosis system and make plants leave brown.

Unabsorbed fertilizer on the soil surface, wilting leaves, Browning leaves, and slow growth are some symptoms of over-fertilizing.

How To Treat

Verbena plants prefer water-soluble fertilizer. You can apply fertilizer of 20-20-20 twice a month. Again nitrogen-based fertilizer can also be a good choice. Various types of readymade fertilizers are found in the market. You can choose one of them (our pick: Down to Earth Organic Rose & Flower Fertilizer Mix).

But the best option is using organic compost. And the good news is that you can easily make it yourself at home.  Here I am sharing a secret recipe for you.

#Recipe-Making an Organic Compost


A medium-sized container, 5-10 liter of Water, dry leaves, Fruit peeling, Kitchen wastes, some pieces if cardboard, Eggshells, 

Paper bags etc.


  • Pick a container with a 5–10 liter capacity.
  • Create a few tiny holes on it to allow the oxygen to flow.
  • Fresh soil should be spread over the container.
  • Add all of the organic waste to it.
  • To balance nitrogen and carbon and provide a favorable habitat for the bacteria that generate compost,
  • Add some cardboard to it. Observe the moisture level after one week of keeping the mixture in a shaded area.
  • It will be ready to use after a week.

4. Your Plant Is Infected by Pests

Spider mites, Mealybugs, and whiteflies are mainly responsible for verbena leaves turning brown.

Have you seen your plant developing a little dot line? So, spider mites must be the cause. With a naked eye, spider mites are difficult to spot. Spider mites may attack your plant if the air is dusty. They absorb the cell sap from the leaves and make them brown.

Mealybugs are white insects without legs or wings. They can be found in a lot of houseplants. They resemble tiny pieces of cotton. They suck the nutrients from the verbena leaves. As a result, stunted plants, brown spots on leaves, and early leaf wilting can develop.

Whiteflies gather on the underside of the verbena leaves and resemble white moths. When you gently shake your verbena plant, a cloud of whiteflies will escape off the plant. These sap-sucking bugs will eventually harm the leaves by stunting their growth and causing brown leaves with white spots.

How To Treat

A good quality insecticide is the best option. Various types of ready-made insecticides are available in the market. Mainly imidacloprid, tau-fluvalinate, and tebuconazole containing pesticides are safe and effective. (our pick: BIOADVANCED 701287A 3 in 1 Insect, Disease, and Mite Control for Plant)

You may not want to waste money. Then you can make organic pesticides at your home very easily. Here I’m sharing a recipe-

#Recipe- Making Of Organic Neem Oil


Baking soda, Vegetable oil,  fresh neem leaves, water, and vinegar.


  • Boil the fresh neem leaves with 1 litre of water for at least 40 minutes.
  • Filter the water and separate the leaves.
  • Then take 1 teaspoon of baking soda and mix it with a little amount of vegetable oil.
  • Add the mixer with the water after cooling it.
  • Stir the mixture for at least 10 minutes.
  • Then add a small amount of vinegar on it.
  • Spray the mixture once daily.

Note: You also have to take some precautions to protect your verbena plants from insects. 

  1. Destroy any source that would be convenient for pests.
  2. Choose the container carefully before planting.
  3. Clean up any debris around the plant regularly.
  4. Spray insecticides by identifying areas where pests may be hiding.

5. Your Pruning Method Is Wrong

Pruning is essential to get your verbena plant into such a beautiful shape.  But it should be in the right way.  Pruning verbena plants outside of the growing season will stunt plant growth.

Over-pruning is one of the reasons verbena leaves turn brown.  When you cut off several parts of a leaf, that part of the leaf will lose enough nutrients and the cells there will die.

Besides, if the knife used in pruning is not disinfected, your plant will be infected with various parasites from there.

How To Treat

Only during the growing season pruning should be done. A maximum of one-third may be taken out in any way.

Pruning should be done carefully to avoid removing any unnecessary leaves. The pruning knives need to be cleaned and sanitized.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why has my verbena stopped blooming?

Poor quality soil can cause your verbena plant to stop blooming.  That is why you must be careful before choosing the soil. Slightly acidic and well-drained soil is good.

Why are my verbena leaves turning yellow?

Nitrogen and iron deficiency can cause your verbena plant to turn yellow. Nitrogen containing fertilizers and iron supplements can easily solve this problem.


The solutions described above are similarly effective for other species of verbena plants such as Purpletop vervain, Blue vervain, Brazilian vervain, Garden verbena, Glandularia Verbena rigida, White vervain.

I hope my article will help you get your verbena plant back on track. Happy gardening.

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of plantandpest.com, a passionate gardener with valuable experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. The website has a large community of followers who trust his tips and techniques and have succeeded with his advice. He is always Committed to helping others create a beautiful and healthy garden.

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