In the last decade a number of ornamental hybrid cultivars of Verbascum have been introduced that offer new bloom colours and colour combinations, shorter plant sizes, and larger blooms. Verbascum x hybrida ‘Southern Charm’ is the result of such breeding work and offers many improvements over past Verbascum species and cultivars.
Verbascum x hybrida ‘Southern Charm’ reaches 60 to 70cm (24 to 30in) when flowering and spreads 45 to 60cm (18 to 24in) at maturity. In late spring, the plants produce an abundant supply of uniquely coloured flowers. Sophisticated shades of chamois, dusty rose, soft primrose and apricot each marked with a fuzzy purple ‘bee.’ The blooms are borne on tall, graceful stems that rise from a low-growing rosette of woolly, ovate, silvery-green leaves.
One of the most noticeable improvements for growers is that ‘Southern Charm’ does not require vernalisation for flowering, it will easily bloom the first year when started from seed. The flowering season can be extended by trimming the spent flower spikes, which encourages the plants to re-bloom in autumn.
‘Southern Charm’ grows best under full sun in locations with dry soils. With its ease of production and first-year flowering, it is a great addition to summer perennial gardens and is a good subject for the sunny border, cottage-style plantings and gravel gardens.
Verbascum don't last well as cut flowers so are best left for the garden. They bloom throughout the summer, with a few sporadic flowers still in September to early October. They work well with many planting schemes and are a good subject for the sunny border, cottage-style plantings and gravel gardens.
Sowing: Sow in spring or in autumn
If started as early as January, this strain usually blooms the first year from seed. Later sown seedlings will provide blooms the following year. Germination 7 to 21 days.
Seeds can be sown directly where they are to flower in either spring (two to four weeks before average last frost date) or in autumn (up to two months before first autumn frost) Sow thinly and thin seedlings to an eventual spacing of 38 to 45cm.
Sow 6 to 8 weeks before planting outdoors in April to May. The plants have a long tap root, so you may wish to use root trainers or long pots. Take care when transplanting. Sow in trays, pots, etc of good seed compost. Space 25mm (1in) between the seeds. Cover the seeds lightly with compost or medium-grade vermiculite to help keep the seed moist during germination. Avoid direct sunlight by shading seeds after sowing. Place in a propagator or warm place to maintain an optimum temperature of 15 to 18°C (60 to 65°F). Keep soil slightly moist but not wet.
Following germination, reduce the moisture levels somewhat, allowing the growing medium to dry out slightly before watering to help promote rooting. They are usually ready for transplanting in 5 to 7 weeks. Transplant into 10 to 18cm (4 to 7in) pot. Harden off and plant out when all risk of frost has passed 45cm (18in) apart in full sun.
Verbascum grows best under full sun in locations with moist but well drained soil; sites with poor drainage will most likely lead to plant mortality. They require a mulch in the winter for protection.
Verbascum is a moderate feeder. Growing them under high fertility regimes generally causes them to become very lush and delay flowering. Don't fertilise after mid Sept.
To encourage the plant to repeat bloom or extend the bloom season to late in the year, cut off the centre stalk after initial flowering, just to where you see side shoots emerging. Approx 4 to 5 weeks to the second flowering. It will also extend the life of your plant
These are evergreen plants; they keep their leaves year round, losing the aerial part during the coldest months of the year. As spring begins, stems and leaves quickly start to reproduce.
Border, Cottage Garden, Mediterranean or Gravel Garden. Exposed Coastal planting. Problem areas. Architectural. Drought, heat, deer, slug and snail proof.
Verbascum don't last well as cut flowers so are best left for the garden but they do make wonderful dried flowers. Pick the flowers as required and place the flowers face down on paper or racks away from light to preserve colour. They can also be used in potpourri.
There are about 300 species of Verbascum, including annuals, biennials and short-lived perennials, native mainly to Europe and Turkey, where they grow on poor, dry soils or recently disturbed ground.
Native to the mountains of Greece. The genus name is likely to have derived from two Latin sources – ‘ver’ meaning ‘spring’ and / or ‘barbascum', which means ‘bearded plant’.
The species name hybridum indicates this plant is a hybrid between two or more varieties or species.
The common name 'Mullein' is taken from the Latin 'mollis' meaning soft, referring to the leaves of the plant.
The flowers of the species are usually yellow and have furry purple stamens that resemble moth antennae, hence the common name of this species, the 'Moth mullein'. Interestingly and conversely, the Mullein moth, is a species of Lepidoptera which feeds on Verbascum and other plants.
One of the old common names is ‘the candlewick plant’ because the large soft furry leaves were cut into strips, dried, and used as wicks for candles.
When a plant sheds its common name and becomes known only by its official Latin title, it is a sure sign that it has come up in the world. The Verbascum has shrugged off as many as ten downmarket pseudonyms as it has ascended the horticultural social scale, moving from the disorderly surroundings of the cottage garden to elegant colour-themed plantings. This stately plant, which combines architectural form with beautiful colouring, deserves this elevation
- Additional Information
Packet Size 5mg Average Seed Count 20 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 10,000 seeds per gram Family Scrophulariaceae Genus Verbascum Species hybridum Cultivar Southern Charm Hardiness Hardy Biennial Hardy Hardy to minus18°C (0°F) Natural Flower Time June to September, First year flowering Foliage Basal rosettes Height 60cm (24in) Spread 40cm (16in) Position Full sun for best flowering Soil Well drained, lean well-drained gravelly soil