Verbascum- Mullein

Biennials and perennial plants with large, pyramid-shaped flower clusters. The biennials, practically all yellow, are the easiest forms to grow. On the continent of Europe the perennial plants are not sufficiently winter-hardy.

Situation:

Biennial mulleins look attractive in any garden where they can be given sufficient room to show their stately habit to good advantage. Nevertheless they may also be used effectively in the perennial border. Perennial species provide even greater opportunity for combination with other plants, but they must be adequately protected against frost, or else be replaced every year. Mullein plants tolerate a certain amount of shade, but in the sun they will flower more profusely.

Soil:

Any standard garden soil, not too damp.

Propagation:

Biennials are sown in early summer in a shady seed-bed; they are pricked out once and transplanted to their permanent position in early autumn. Hybrids are increased by division or from root cuttings.

Biennial species

Verbascum bombyciferum: Height to 2 m; yellow flowers in felty spikes in early to mid summer. The leaf rosettes are large, also entirely covered in grey down. Verbascum chaixu: Height 1.5 m or more; flowering season early to mid summer. The flowers are yellow with a red centre and are arranged in large clusters. In the cultivar ‘Pyramidale’ they are a little larger. The leaves on round, reddish stalks are sometimes deeply incised. Verbascum densiflorum syn Verbascum tbapsiforme: Height 1-2 m; yellow to brownish flowers from early summer to early autumn. The entire plant is a felty, yellow grey; the leaves, especially the upper ones, are decurrent. Verbascum nigrum: Height to 125 cm; bright-yellow flowers with red centre early summer to early autumn. Verbascum pboeniceum: Height 40-80 cm; flowers throughout summer months, the violet-purple flowers being arranged in elongated, erect-growing spikes. Hardy perennials

Verbascum hybrids: Height 1.5 m; flowering season mid summer to early autumn. Beautiful colours in ‘Blushing Bride’, white with a creamy centre; ‘Cotswold Queen’, salmon colour with lilac; ‘Densiflorum’, coppery yellow against grey foliage; ‘Gainsborough’, creamy yellow; ‘Pink Domino’, soft lilac-pink; ‘Royal Highland’, apricot colour with yellow.

Verbena

Vervain

Annual or biennial plants, differing greatly in appearance.

Situation:

Annuals chiefly in beds and containers; biennials are very attractive among all sorts of other plants.

Soil:

Will grow in any standard garden soil.

Propagation:

Sow from late mid winter onwards under glass. Biennials may also be increased from cuttings taken in the autumn and kept frost free throughout the winter.

Verbena bonariensis syn Verbena patagonica: Height 1.5 m or more; purple flower-clusters on very slender stalks in mid summer to mid autumn. It is actually a perennial, but is better cultivated as a biennial. Verbena hybrids: Height 15-30 cm; flowering season in summer. White, rose-red, scarlet or violet-coloured flowers, often with a white centre, in flat clusters.

Veronica

Speedwell

Hardy perennials with predominantly blue flowers.

Situation:

Most species are ideal border plants; the pure blue colour is quite rare.

Soil:

Any good garden soil. Dwarf rock plants must have a very well drained position.

Propagation:

By division or from summer cuttings.

Veronica austriaca ssp teucrium syn Veronica teucrium: Height 25-40 cm; pure blue flowers in axillary clusters in early to mid summer. The spear-shaped to oval leaves have a crenate edge. ‘Royal Blue’, dark blue; ‘Shirley Blue’, violet blue.

Veronica longifolia: Height 50-100 cm; blue flowers in large spikes in summer months. There is also a white form, while ‘Blue Giantess’ is pure blue, height 70 cm. Veronica spicata ssp incana syn Veronica incana: Height 15-30 cm; blue flowers in summer months. The spear-shaped crenate leaves are grey all over.

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