Verbascum phoeniceum 'Violetta'
- available to order from autumn
- 9cm pot
- 6 × 9cm pots
This perennial is semi-evergreen so it can lose some of its leaves in winter. In colder regions or more exposed gardens, it may lose them all, but then fresh new growth appears again in spring.
- Position: full sun, light shade
- Soil: well-drained, alkaline soil
- Rate of Growth: average
- Flowering period: May to August
- Hardiness: fully hardy (but short-lived)
Waving stems carry whorls of tissue thin purple blooms ascending to the finest point. Each flower sports darker centre with golden stamens. Flat rosettes of oval-shaped, deep green leaves form a solid base to the plant. Each flower matures into an attractive pearl-like seed pod, ripening to burgundy black in colour and extending textural interest late into the summer. Shorter than most Verbascums, this one is ideal for a smaller garden.
- Garden care: Apply a thick 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch round the base of the plant in autumn to protect from winter extremes, taking care not to cover the crown. Stake in spring with bamboo canes or twiggy prunings before the flowers appear. Mullein moth caterpillars can be a problem - pick off the insects in early June as soon as they appear. Remove faded flower spikes.
It is worth keeping in mind that these plants are mainly biennial, so although they usually self-seed freely, the plant will only live for two years.