A year ago I sowed seed for these (click) verbascum 'Violette', along with seed for several other perennials. Over the winter a few sprouted and in the spring I transplanted them to the wheelbarrow, as shown here, to get some size to them. So a year to get sixpack size, but at the cost of a packet of seed. Notice the price on the link is $7.95 for one plant, this size. One can do well growing perennials from seed if one has the time and space to wait for them. I am sure a primary reason there are so few perennials available in the local markets is just this time. Propagators must make money and when it takes a year or two to get plants big enough to sell, and of course buyers want to see the flowers which may take even longer, there apparently aren't many who want to invest. I imagine most gardeners are happy enough with the easy to grow stalwarts of the garden anyway. However, I love trying new plants and often prefer zone 8 plants which usually grow quite happily here, while our local nurserymen typically prefer more tropical leaning toward zone 10 plants that must be babied through our winters. So growing from seed is a good option, given I enjoy the experiment and challenge. I just hope these verbascum, and the others, stay happy in the ground.