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hollie hock

Hello everyone,been to a seed swop/very cheap sale today and came back with this

amongst other things.

The guy on the stall didn't know the name of it but it grows to be a big plant/shrub, has a flower spire bit like nettles he said.

The leaves are quite furry and soft to touch, bit like bunny/lambs ears  but not quite as furry.


He also said that it does best in full shade but he has made divisions of it and planted them in partial shade and they have adapted.

I wasn't that keen but OH wanted it

Thanks for any help

Could it be some sort of begonia or pelargonium?
Gardening Grandma

I am wondering if it is sweet violet, which has heart-shaped downy leaves.

Maybe stachys lanata? It has sort of nettle- like flower spikes.

Clary sage ?


hollie hock

Thanks for all your suggestions. It's a bit of mystery. He did say it's something unusual when it flowers, and would do best at the back of the beds. He also said it wouldn't be suitable for small gardens. He had to move it as it was casting shade on other plants.............that's why I wasn't keen. My garden isn't a small one but it's not that big either.

I've got a place in mind for it go, a patch that that is fairly empty in partial shade so we will see how it does there. I'll post some more pics later if it survives and flowers

Shrinking Violet

Verbascum bombyciferum?  Vebascums are known as the Velvet Plant, because the leaves are so often soft and - well, velvety.  There are lots of different cultivars, but the spire of the flowers seems to fit in with the description from the chap who sold the plant to you.  Time will tell when it flowers, I suppose.

Oh - and if it is verbascum, they are susceptible to the Mullein Moth - caterpillars will chomp through the flowers at a rate of knots.  Not for the squeamish - but the easiest way of dealing with them is to be vigilent and pick them off.

Yes,, I am sure it's a sage of some sort, maybe not the clary one.

It's the flower spire like nettles that puzzles me. I agree with lilylouse, looks a bit like phlomis russeliana leaves but the flowers aren't remotely like nettles.

hollie hock

it's a really difficult one as all I've got to go on is what the plant looks like now and what the description was, he didn't know the name of it and  I haven't seen what the flowers look like. 

I've seen the verbacum bombyciferum before and would match the soft feel of the leaves. It might be a phlomis, but really not sure. Re the link is that the same Bowles that the Bowles Mauve wallflowers are named after?

It might be a sage, grew some commercial packets of clary sage, they had coloured leaves.

If it flowers, will definately post some pictures.

Thanks again.

When I read that he said it wasn't suitable for small gardens, I immediately thought of a kiwi plant!    Not sure, though.


One of the Phlomis varieties has square stems - in the photo the stems look a bit square to me

Pam LL x

hollie hock

I've been looking at the Phlomis russeliana and the leaves definately look the same and the stems are square in shape. From what I've read they are also called Turkish Sage. I think the guy said that the flowers were green/yellow. I'm pretty sure that's what I have got. Thanks to everyone for helping with identifying it.

My next question would be is this a plant that encourages pollinators?



Never heard it called Turkish sage but the shrubby one is known as Jerusalem sage so it's likely. good for bees and good for standing upright through winter. Looks great in ice and snow.

hollie hock

Good news, thanks nut. Looks like I might have picked up a bargain


Keep us informed hollie hock

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