Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

VERBASCUM olympicum

Image of Verbascum olympicum

Maureen Gilmer

Family

Scrophulariaceae

Botanical Name

VERBASCUM olympicum

Plant Common Name

Olympic Mullein

General Description

Grand and stunning with silvery white foliage, Olympic mullein adds a vertical accent to sunny gardens, when in bloom. Its abundance of sturdy floral spires are lined with showy, five-petaled, yellow flowers. This biennial or very short-lived semi-evergreen perennial is endemic to Mysian Olympus (Uludag), a mountain in Bursa Province, Turkey, and usually survives two or three years. Where native, it grows in open areas on rocky, well-drained alkaline soils.

The flower spikes emerge from a basal rosette of fuzzy hairy, silvery white leaves and the blooms appear in succession over a fairly long period, from early to late summer. (When moisture is in abundance, the leaves become less silvery white.) Each clear yellow blossom is slightly hairy and attracts butterflies and bees. Seeds are produced in profusion and scatter and germinate nearby. Plants reach flowering age in the second or third year.

Thriving in full sun and average to lean, dry soils, Verbascum olympicum requires excellent drainage and will not tolerate "wet feet" (soggy soils). Alkaline soil is preferred and acid soils should be avoided. Cut back flower spikes as they fade to maintain a neat appearance and to encourage a potential reblooming. Olympic mullein tends to be short-lived, usually dying once flowering ends. It will self-sow, ensuring a constant supply of new seedlings. It is well worth growing for its bright foliage, abundant blooms and ease of culture, and adds vertical appeal to rock gardens and sunny, well-drained mixed borders. Rabbits and deer will not eat this plant!

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 4

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Biennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    5'-9' / 1.5m - 2.7m

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Turkey

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Lemon Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Gray Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    White, Silver

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Alpine, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes