Erect stems bearing profuse saucer-shaped flowers that are usually yellow, but also white, brownish-red, or purple. Individual flowers are short lived but numerous, and flowering takes place over a long time. Most plants in the genus Verbascum are biennials or short lived perennials and a few are annuals; some have semi-evergreen or evergreen rosettes. Most species self-sow, but not as a nuisance, and many seedlings vary slightly from the parent cultivar, thereby creating welcome surprises. Most species are found on dry, stony hillsides and open woodlands, but different species are well-adapted to cottage, gravel, rock gardens, or naturalized areas.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsTall, upright flower spikes with small bright flowers bloom over a long period and create vertical accents in the garden. Leaves are often fuzzy and cast with a silvery sheen.
CareFuzzy-leaved species prefer full sun, others will tolerate partial shade. Grow in any well-drained soil. Verbascums tend to flop in fertile soil.
PropagationSow seeds of annuals and biennials in spring in containers under a cold frame. Divide in spring. Take root cuttings in winter. Take semi-ripe cuttings of shrubby species in late winter.
ProblemsPowdery mildew and other fungal leaf spots. Caterpillars.