Verbascum speciosum | Showy Mullein
Showy Mullein, also called Hungarian Mullein, and sometimes mislabeled as V. Olympicum, is a true garden stunner! A tough, hardy, drought-tolerant, biennial or short-lived perennial. Equipped with a deep tap root, Showy Mullein can thrive in many habitats, including disturbed rocky soils on roadsides, river banks, meadows, and forest margins. Its large stature makes a statement in the flower garden.
During the first year (or two) the plant will grow a rosette of long, silver-grey hairy leaves that cover the ground. If the plant does not bloom during the second year, the rosette will grow to a massive size by the third year, reaching an absolutely impressive 4+ ft in diameter! When the plant starts to bloom, the leaves will start alternating part-way up the stem and will decrease in length. V. speciosum plants will produce an incredibly thick and sturdy main stalk up to 6+ ft tall and will branch out into multiple arms with panicles of bright yellow flowers that will keep flowering for months on end!
The tiny seeds are abundant and can remain viable in the soil for decades. We have noticed that seeds germinate best in gravel and open disturbed soils two years after the seeds hit the ground. Mulleins can be easily managed by manually removing the plants before seed-set, not disturbing the soil, or by establishing dense vegetative cover that will prevent seed germination. Sow seed indoors, or late spring to summer to early fall outdoors.
Prefers full sun in well drained soils. Low maintenance, deer resistant, and attracts a wide variety of insects.
Type: Biennial or short-lived perennial
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 6-8 ft
Mature width: 4-5 ft
Mature zones: 5-9