Great Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), 3 plants in 7 cm pots,
Sometimes know as Great Aaron's Rod, Great Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is ideal for those who like their wildflowers big, an ideal plant for the back of the wildflower border. Its a great 'architectural' plant, growing up to nearly two metres tall with a long spike on which the yellow flowers mature upwards toward the top, attracting bees and other pollinating insects from around June right through to September.
A Natural Insecticide
Most plants produce some sort of pesticide or other defence to prevent themselves from being decimated by insects. Great Mullein produces the very potent rotenone, often sold as a garden insecticide under the name of Derris Powder, although it is usually obtained from the non-native, Tuba Plant (Derris eliptica).
Great Mullein is very hardy plant that can be planted out at any time of year. It will pass the winter as a rosette of furry leaves and flower the following summer. Needs sunshine and an area that is not too damp.
As well as being a great nectar plant like the garden varieties of Verbascum, Great Mullein, despite its insecticide, is attacked by a large number of different insects, and even has a moth named after it, the nocturnal Mullein Moth (Cucillia verbasci). At rest with wings folded it looks like a bit of dry plant stem. Although its camouflage means there is little chance of spotting the moth, its attractive yellow-spotted caterpillars may be seen feeding on the leaves. The pupa, enclosed in a sturdy cocoon, is formed underground and can remain there for several years before emerging as an adult moth.
The female Wool-carder Bee (Anthidium manicatum) collects hairs from its soft hairy leaves and stems and uses them to line its nest. It is a very distinctive bee with yellow spots along its abdomen, Widespread throughout southern England it becomes rarer the further north you go. Another favourite plant of this bee is the popular introduction from the Middle East, Lambs Ear (Stachys byzantina), which also has thick hairy leaves, both being great choices for a sensory garden.
You are purchasing THREE well-rooted plants in 7 cm square pots that we have grown from native seed.
The flowers produce copious amounts of seed which if they can find some bare soil will give rise to new plants the following year.
Ladyburn Plant Nursery has been registered, by the Scottish Government, as a Professional Operator who is authorised to issue plant passports. (These are now required for internet sales of all plants including native plants sold within the UK, not just those for those shipped abroad, as previously). Registration Number GB-S 03473.
Please note that our plants are sold purely for their biodiversity, educational and aesthetic value and should not be consumed unless you are absolutely certain of their safety.
Please note also that our nursery is located at Cupar, our St Andrews address being for correspondence only.
Most plants produce some sort of pesticide or other defense to prevent themselves from being decimated by insects. Great Mullein produces the very potent rotenone, often sold as a garden insecticide under the name of Derris Powder, although it is usually obtained from the non-native, Tuba Plant, Derris eliptica.
Despite the insecticide, it is attacked by a large number of different insects, and even has a moth named after it, the nocturnal Mullein Moth, Cucillia verbasci. At rest with wings folded it looks like a bit of dry plant stem. Although its camouflage means there is little chance of spotting the moth even during the day, its attractive yellow-spotted caterpillars may be seen then feeding on the leaves of its host plant. Its pupa, enclosed in a sturdy cocoon, is formed underground and it can remain in that form for several years before emerging.
Now for a rather unexpected benefit of growing Great Mullein; It is a very hairy plant and the Wood-carder bee, Anthidium manicatum, uses the hairs from its leaves and stems to line its nest. This bee, easily recognisable from the yellow spots down both sides is common in southern England but gets rarer the further north you go. It will also use the hairs on Yarrow and the cultivated Lamb's Ear.
Great Mullein is a biennial, so it can be sown at any time of the year and after overwintering as a rosette of leaves, its stem will shoot up and flower the following year.