Name: Verbascum chaixii aka nettle-leaved mullein
Type of Plant: A biennial that sometimes only lasts a year and other times might live three years, this plant self-seeds around the garden. The straight species has spires of yellow flowers, and the variety ‘Album’ has white blossoms…both have purple stamens which add to the charm of the plant.
Why I love This: I love this biennial because in June it adds some upright, exclamation points to the garden. It’s a great cut flower and the bees love it. I also love how it travels around my gardens dependably but not invasively. Verbascum species do well in rocky or sandy soils and dry areas, so use them in gardens that you don’t irrigate frequently or to add height to a rock garden. They are also perfect for cottage-style flower gardens.
A Word to the Wise: Don’t plant this is you don’t like working in the perennial bed. You’ll need to edit out seedlings and plants that are in the wrong place, remove plants that are growing inside another perennial, and cut down most of the stalks when they start to form seeds. You’ll want to remove most of the seed-stalks because otherwise you’ll have too many in future years, and besides the seed-stalks aren’t attractive in the garden. I will commonly leave one of the most branched and full plants to go to seed but cut away all the rest. Once you have this plant you’ll always have it popping up, so plant this with your eyes open.
You’ll want to grow this Verbascum from seed as it is seldom found in garden centers.