Community favorite: Southern Charm hybrid mullein

Published: Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 6CALIFORNIA LIFE

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.

Southern Charm hybrid mullein

Verbascum "Southern Charm"

Size: Under 3 feet tall

Bloom season: Summer

Exposure: Full sun to bright shade

Pruning needs: Little or none; remove spent flower stalks.

Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week.

Snapshot: This easy-care perennial is a real charmer with loads of flower spikes throughout the summer. It's deer- and snail-resistant, and grows in almost any soil including clay. Drought-tolerant, it benefits from compost when planted and reseeds easily. This hybrid stays more compact than other mulleins and the blooms are an eye-catching blend of colors. The 24- to 30-inch flower spikes range from soft chamois and dusty rose to apricot with purple eyes. You can see specimens in the arboretum's teaching nursery on the UC Davis campus.

Why it's a Favorite: "I love the adorable little flowers of verbascums on narrow spikes in the spring garden poking up above other plants," said Ellen Zagory, the arboretum's director of horticulture. "The furry, dark pink centers are fascinating, surrounded by delicate pale yellow, pink or purple petals."

• Read more about the Arboretum's 75th anniversary at arboretum75th.ucdavis.edu. For more on the Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars, click on http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu

See a photo gallery of the Community Favorites online at Community Favorites

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