Verbascum (Cotswold Group) 'Gainsborough'
- Position: full sun
- Soil: poor, well-drained, alkaline soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: May to August
- Hardiness: fully hardy (but short-lived)
Elegant panicles bearing sulphur-yellow, saucer-shaped flowers, rise above the rosette of puckered, grey-green leaves in summer. A reliable perennial, which may produce a second flush of flowers if dead-headed promptly.
- 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.