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A favorite plant of hummingbirds and pollinators, mullein attracts the attention of non-winged garden visitors too. This showy cottage garden favorite makes a joyful statement in the early summer garden as it sends up a tall flower spike and then begins to open pretty blossoms in shades of yellow, pink, white, and purple depending on the variety.
Sometimes called verbascum, this group of plants is made up of many different varieties. Most types of mullein are perennials, coming back year-after-year, some plants are biennials and come back for a couple of years, and a few mulleins are annuals. Add several types of mullein to a cottage garden and enjoy their diversity.
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Under 6 inches to 8 feet
6 inches-2 feet wide, depending on variety
garden plans for Mullein
Mullein Care Must-Knows
Easy-to-grow in well-drained soil and full sun, mullein tolerates a wide range of soil conditions including poor, sandy soil. One requirement for good growth is well-drained soil. It does not tolerate wet or poorly drained growing conditions. Start plants from seed planted indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in spring or sow seeds directly in the garden in late spring. Mullein is also easy to grow from transplants purchased at the garden center. Water plants regularly for the first growing season after transplanting.
Mullein, like many perennials, will produce more blooms if the faded flowers are snipped away. The process of removing faded, or spent, flowers is called deadheading. To deadhead mullein, cut the flower stalk off the plant just below the lowest blossom. Removing the flower stalk spurs the plant to produce new flower buds in an effort to produce seeds for the next generation. The second and subsequent flushes of bloom are often not as bold as the initial one, but ample flowers will continue to unfurl as along as the growing conditions are conducive.
More Varieties Of Mullein
Verbascum olympicum grows an impressive 6-8 feet tall when in bloom. The first year, it produces a rosette of silvery-gray foliage, which persists through the winter. The following year, it sends up branched candelabra of yellow blooms. Olympic mullein may die after blooming, but it usually self-sows to come back in future years. Grow in well-drained soil. Zones 5-11
'Southern Charm' mullein
This selection of Verbascum is a seed-propagated variety that bears spikes of flowers in shades of lavender, rose, cream, or buff. Peak bloom occurs in late spring, but the plant may bloom sporadically throughout the summer. It is a short-lived, self-seeding perennial that often blooms the first year from seed. Zones 5-8