Verbascum (Cotswold Group) 'Gainsborough'
Leave to self-seed for vertical accents through a gravel garden or Mediterranean border; very attractive to pollinating insects
- Position: full sun
- Soil: poor, well-drained, alkaline soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: May to August
- Hardiness: fully hardy (but short-lived)
Statuesque spires of saucer-shaped, soft yellow flowers from May to August above rosettes of grey-green leaves. This delicate pale yellow verbascum is perfect for a sunny border or cottage garden. The pale yellow flowers and grey-green foliage look excellent next to the thistle-like blue flowerheads of Echinops ritro. Thrives in poor, well-drained soil.
- Garden care: Apply a 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch around 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 if you do not want them to self-seed.
It is worth keeping in mind that these plants are mainly biennial, so although they usually self-seed freely, the plant will usually die off after flowering.
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