Erect stems bear profuse saucer-shaped flowers that are usually yellow but also can be 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, or rock gardens, or to 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, while others will tolerate partial shade. Grow in any well-drained soil. These plants 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