MULLEIN

FAMILY: Scrophulariaceae | GENUS: VERBASCUM

TYPE
  • Biennials
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Moderate Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8

Plant Details

Large group of rosette-forming, summer-blooming plants that send up spikes closely set with nearly flat, five-petaled, circular flowers about an inch across. Both foliage and stems are often covered in woolly hairs. Taller mulleins make striking vertical accents. All mulleins self-sow freelyand some are downright weedy, such as the attractive roadside wildflower Verbascum thapsus. Perennial species are short lived in hot, humid climates.

moth mullein

verbascum blattaria

  • Biennial.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native from Europe to central Asia.
  • To 24 feet tall, 1112 feet wide, with smooth-textured, dark green, cut or toothed leaves to 10 inches long.
  • Pale yellow or white flowers have purple centers.
  • A pink-flowered form has rose-pink flowers that open from red buds.

verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Summer' ('Polarsommer')

  • Biennial.
  • Selection of a species native to Turkey.
  • To 6 feet tall, 2 feet wide, with furry, gray-green leaves to 112 feet long.
  • Yellow flowers on powdery white stems.

chaix mullein

verbascum chaixii

  • Perennial.
  • From Europe.
  • To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, with hairy, green leaves to 6 inches long.
  • Red-eyed, pale yellow flowers in narrow, often branching spikes.
  • Album and 'Wedding Candles' have white flowers with purple centers.
  • Sixteen Candles has bright yellow blooms with violet centers.

verbascum hybrids

  • Many hybrids are obtainable, either as blends or in single colors.
  • Most must be grown from seed.

Banana Custard

  • Biennial.
  • To 56 feet tall, 2 feet wide.
  • Bright yellow flowers.

Clementine

  • Perennial.
  • To 5 feet tall, 2 feet wide, with peacy apricot-to-orange flowers centered with violet-purple.

Copper Rose

  • Perennial.
  • To 46 feet tall, 2 feet wide, with blossoms in buff, apricot, rose, or tan.
  • Blooms the first year from seed sown in late winter or earliest spring.

Cotswold hybrids. Perennials. These resemble Verbascum phoeniceum but come in white, cream, yellow, pink, and purple. Named selections are sometimes offered, including creamy yellow 'Gainsborough' and bright pink 'Pink Domino'.

Helen Johnson

  • Perennial.
  • To 34 feet tall, 2 feet wide.
  • Apricot flowers with purple centers; large, silvery green leaves.
  • To propagate this sterile hybrid, take root cuttings in early spring.

Jackie

  • Short-lived perennial.
  • To 1122 feet high, 112 feet wide.
  • Purple-eyed blossoms are a soft orange, similar to the color of cantaloupe flesh.
  • To propagate this sterile hybrid, take root cuttings in early spring.

Sierra Sunset

  • Perennial.
  • Rosettes 8 inches high and 1418 inches wide produce flower stalks 112 feet high that hold large blossoms in shades of melon and salmon, with rose accents.

Southern Charm

  • Perennial.
  • To 23 feet high, 1122 feet wide.
  • Seed strain in mixed colors, including cream, buff, lavender, rose.

olympic mullein

verbascum olympicum

  • Perennial.
  • From Greece.
  • To 5 feet high, 3 feet wide, with soft, downy white leaves to over 2 feet long.
  • Bright yellow flowers are very showy; many flowering stems.

purple mullein

verbascum phoeniceum

  • Perennial.
  • To 24 feet high, 112 feet wide.
  • Dark green leaves to 6 inches long are smooth on top, hairy beneath.
  • Slender spikes of purple flowers.
  • Flush of White has snow-white blooms; those of 'Violetta' are deep violet.

Grow in well-drained soil that is not too rich; fertile, acidic soil makes plants grow so tall that they may need staking. Cut off spent flowers to encourage a second round of blooming. Leave spikes of biennial species in place if you want plants to spread by reseeding.

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