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The Plant Guide

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Purple mullein

Verbascum phoeniceum

This biennial or short-lived perennial species is one of the earliest mulleins to bloom. Its showy blossoms of dark-purple, violet, pink, or white open along slender 3-foot spires for about two weeks in early summer. Its shiny dark green leaves are ground-hugging and evergreen. It has naturalized in some regions of the U.S.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsVerbascum phoeniceum is commonly found on dry, stony hillsides and open woodlands, but it is well-adapted to cottage, gravel, and rock gardens or naturalized areas. It self-sows but not as a nuisance, and many seedlings vary slightly from the parent cultivar, thus creating welcome surprises.

CareProvide well-drained soil in full sun. Verbascums tend to flop in fertile soil.

PropagationSow seeds in spring in containers under a cold frame. Divide in spring.

ProblemsPowdery mildew and other fungal leaf spots. Caterpillars.

  • Genus : Verbascum
  • Plant Height : 1 to 3 feet
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Tolerance : Deer Tolerant, Drought Tolerant, Frost Tolerant
  • Moisture : Dry to Medium
  • Bloom Time : Early Summer
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Flower Color : Pink, White
  • Characteristics : Self Seeds
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
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