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Verbascum (Mullein)
at Digging Dog

Including Verbascum chaixii, Verbascum hybridum, Verbascum nigrum, Verbascum olympicum, and Verbascum phoeniceum




This genus has a host of common names, including ‘Beggar’s Blanket’ and ‘Old Man’s Flannel’. In England, the very poor used to put the thick leaves into their shoes for warmth. It is also said that when fish eat the seeds, they are stupefied and can be gathered by hand.

Although most of the more than 300 species are biennials, our offerings are perennials. Though some are dwarfs and some are giants, nearly all have fuzzy stamens and prefer very well drained sandy or rocky soil. We like to use them in the rock garden as specimens or for naturalizing.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus

Verbascum chaixii ‘Sixteen Candles’  full sun

Grounded by gray-green rosettes, these upstanding candelabras of copious, violet-eyed, sunshine-hued flowers stage a truly incandescent spectacle. Irregular scallops, net-veining and long petioles define its dynamic large basal leaves. Preferring a somewhat dry, well drained site, ‘Sixteen Candles’s proud yellow spires command attention alongside Nepeta reichenbachiana.

Blooms June–August.

Size: 3-1/4' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Verbascum chaixii ‘Sixteen Candles’ (P-1287)
Each $7.75
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Verbascum chaixii ‘Wedding Candles’  full sun

Illuminated tapers stage droves of tightly set pure white flowers centered by fuzzy purple filaments and bright orange anthers. The flat-faced blooms shine above pearly green textured leaves.

Conveying a bright floral lift all summer long, this undemanding perennial can be sited in drier garden areas with Perovskia abrotanoides or Phygelius ‘Snow Queen’.

Blooms June–August.

Size: 3'–3-1/2' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Verbascum chaixii ‘Wedding Candles’ (P-1417)
Each $7.75
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Verbascum ‘Clementine’  full sun
Verbascum  Clementine

When British plant breeders, Vic Johnstone and Claire Wilson, developed more than a thousand hybrids utilizing various wild Verbascum species, they chose only the best dozen seedlings and dubbed them ‘The Riverside Hybrids’; this splendid toasty hued prodigy was one of them. Sprouting from handsome rippled green basal leaves, numerous, well-branched straight stems bolster burgundy flushed button-like buds on tall floral spikes.

Large and luscious, wide-open coppery orange flowers, festooned with a central cluster of woolly light violet filaments, lend warm vertical accents to Allium ‘Gladiator’.

Blooms July – August.

Size: 4'–5' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Verbascum ‘Clementine’ (P-1677)
Each $8.50
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Verbascum ‘Gainsborough’  full sun  new plant
Verbascum  Gainsborough

This Verbascum’s hushed colors are soothing to the senses and easy to blend with other perennials. Centered by delicate orange stamens, the cupped, dusky primrose yellow flowers and cream-colored buds squeeze onto numerous branched candelabra-style spires. Downy gray leaves converge at the base of the statuesque presentation, while Echinops ‘Arctic Glow’s snow white spheres make a pleasing counterpoint.

Blooms July – August.

Size: 4'–4-1/2' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Verbascum ‘Gainsborough’ (P-1556)
Each $8.00
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Verbascum hybridum ‘Wega’  full sun  new plant
Banana Custard Mullein

A felted biennial rosette of ample, grayish green ripple-edged foliage unleashes spectacular 6 ft. tall luminous flowering stalks. The crowded, blunt-tipped stout stems house fuzzy, round silver buds and large saucer-shaped blossoms bathed in soft custard yellow hues with orange anthers. These long blooming, multibranched beauties are some of the last flowers to grace our mixed border, delivering glowing vertical accents ‘til October’s end.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 6' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Verbascum hybridum ‘Wega’ (P-1416)
Each $7.75
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Verbascum nigrum ‘Album’  full sun
Verbascum nigrum Album Verbascum nigrum Album

With flower spikes reaching over 3-½ ft. tall, ‘Album’ is truly dramatic. Its many white flowers are tinged with crimson at the base of each petal and accented by golden orange stamens. The large basal leaves are coarse, deep green and textured. Their undulating margins, and often their stems, are tinted a deep burgundy color.

Blooms July–August.

Size: 4' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Verbascum nigrum ‘Album’ (P-0320)
Each $7.75
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Verbascum olympicum  full sun

A remarkable perennial of Olympian proportions, Candlewick originates in Europe’s Bithynian Mountains. Large, felted, wavy-edged leaves form a huge, silvery basal rosette that lasts through the winter. In summer, woolly “candles” branch out at the base, and soar skyward with cheerful clusters of bright yellow flowers. Outstanding as a feature plant in a shrubby Mediterranean border, this monumental Mullein appreciates a dry spot.

Blooms July–September.

Size: 6'–8' high x 2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 7.

Verbascum olympicum (P-0973)
Each $7.75
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Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Flush of White’  full sun
Verbascum phoeniceum Flush of White

Attired in pure white, the slender flowering spikes show off an abundance of frosty, yellow-eyed blooms. This illuminated display arises from ripple-edged green foliage, which achieves a tidy, compact rosette. ‘Flush of White’s uniform snowy coloring is unusual for a Verbascum, while its smaller stance becomes an added bonus where space is limited.

Blooms May.

Size: 2'–2-1/2' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 6.

Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Flush of White’ (P-1288)
Each $7.75
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Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Rosetta’  full sun
Verbascum phoeniceum Rosetta

'Rosetta' puts on a colorful flower display, bejeweled in pretty carmine-pink hues. Anchored by comely, crimpled dark green leaves, the tall spires host sumptuously hued, gold-centered, saucer-shaped flowers that celebrate the vivid hues of Phygelius ‘New Sensation’ and Liatris ‘Floristan Violett’.

Blooms May–August.

Size: 2'–2-1/2' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 6.

Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Rosetta’ (P-1229)
Each $7.75
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Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Violetta’  full sun
Purple Mullein
Verbascum phoeniceum Violetta

As a precursor to the royal floral show of this delicate Mullein, enchanting buds swell, resembling tiny, dark satin pillows. A deep green, flat rosette of oval-shaped, crinkled leaves provides an attractive base for the airy and richly colored flowering spikes. Brightened by gilt stamens, papery purple blooms are flat-faced and look fabulous in arrangements. Self-seeding easily, and shorter in stature than most Verbascums, ‘Violetta’ is perfect for the smaller garden.

Blooms May–August.

Size: 2'–3' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 6.

Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Violetta’ (P-0972)
Each $7.75
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Verbascum ‘Pink Domino’  full sun
Verbascum  Pink Domino

Romantic shades of rose-pink dress up these dark-eyed saucer-shaped blooms. Standing straight and tall, the lovely spikes rise from a rich green, purple-streaked, ripply rosette. Sprinkle among Monarda ‘Violet Queen’ and Eryngium ‘Blue Jackpot’ for divergent flower forms and an unrivaled feminine touch.

Blooms June – August.

Size: 4'–4-1/2' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Verbascum ‘Pink Domino’ (P-1557)
Each $7.75
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Verbascum ‘White Domino’  full sun

A stately stand of tall branched racemes laden with large, white cupped blooms distinguishes this new Verbascum cultivar. Fuzzy basal foliage, steeped in soft grayish greens, launches the crisp and classic display that shows a lively touch of color when reddish purple floral filaments appear.

Blooms June – August.

Size: 3-1/4'–4' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Verbascum ‘White Domino’ (P-1621)
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Current Staff’s Favorite Plant

staff favorite plant

Our favorite plant this week: We love Astrantia major 'Lars' for it's ornate, richly colored blooms, that look great in an arrangement, either fresh or dried. Celebrating bright and cheerful colors, crowns of maroon bracts deliver gorgeous cherry red floral mounds with lighter pink centers. ‘Lars’s blooms loll high above broad deep green lobed leaves on slender stems. This energetic Danish cultivar looks a bit like an overly exuberant Italian Flat Parsley and makes an unparalleled up-front cottage-style filler that is easy to care for.

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