Monday, June 2, 2014

Verbascum Bombyciferum Revisited

Self Sown Verbascum bombyciferum in the front border at Froggy Bottom

     I wrote about Verbascum bombyciferum last year here.  This year I am even more pleased with this plant because it has spread out in a pleasing way so that now it is found throughout the border and not just in one small part of it,  as it was previously.   I have found that with self sowers you have to be patient--it often takes a few years for a self sower to take off and to sow in a pleasing pattern.  It has taken these verbascums about 5 years to really get going in the way I envisioned. Like almost all gardening, patience and close observation is the key.  I say close observation, because it is easy to miss the seedlings of self sowers and to weed them up if not careful.
     I like these verbascums in this border for several reasons.  First, their soft yellow flowers are very pleasing, especially when combined with the purple, blues, pinks and oranges which are prevalent in this border at this time of year.  Second, their large broad leaves make a nice contrast to all the other busy foliage in the border.  And finally, their gray furry texture also makes a nice contrast to all the greens in the border.  I have tried many other verbascums over the years and this one, so far, is my favorite.  Some of the others look very weedy, and, indeed, are major weeds.  You see them all over eastern Oregon growing in weedy areas, such as alongside old railroad tracks, for example. Not Verbascum bombyciferum, but other kinds of verbascums!
     Terry Stanley once grew Verbascum epixanthinum, a relatively recently discovered species from Greece which has golden furry foliage, and I grew it in this front border.  I have to say that it had very attractive foliage, and it was perennial, and not biennial, like V. bombyciferum.  The flowers were not quite as attractive as those of bombyciferum, but I would have to say it is another verbascum well worth growing.  Seed seems to be available from Chiltern and from Plant World Seeds. 


  1. That moment when the self-sowers settle in is so worth pursuing, as that photo of your verbascum demonstrates. So funny you should mention V. expixanthinum. I've got a few seedlings started from seed from Derry Watkins, but it is slow, exasperating work getting them going. I hope at least a couple survive. Nice to see your posts again, Linda.

  2. I love seeing these or a similar species along the roadsides. The fuzzy foliage always makes me want to stop.