Verbascum, commonly known as mullein, is a group of biennials or perennial plants that are highly valued in gardening and landscaping for their showy spikes of colourful flowers and attractive foliage. This genus has over 730 species of flowering plants, and is from the Buddleja family (Scrophulariaceae). Over the years, breeders have created numerous mullein cultivars which are typically compact and are not as large, invasive or weedy as the species.
The main feature of ornamental mullein cultivars is their beautiful and long-lasting flowers. They produce tall spikes of colourful flowers in an array of bright or soft pastel shades from white and yellow to pink, purple, lavender, cream and apricot. Flowers are typically saucer-shaped, with five petals, five hairy stamens, and a single central style. On display in Flower Dome is the cultivar ‘Southern Charm’, which produces graceful spikes smothered with a blend of creamy yellow, lavender and peach-coloured flowers. This cultivar can also be quite variable, with a few petals also exhibiting a deep mauve colour.
Mullein cultivars are a great choice for adding colour and interest to the garden for an extended period especially since their flowering period can last several months. The flowers are also an excellent source of nectar for pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and moths. Hence, this makes them an important addition to any garden that aims to support biodiversity. They also make wonderful cut flowers, adding height, texture, and charm to a bouquet or floral arrangement!
Do check out Verbascum ‘Southern Charm’ which is currently showing off its ornate flower spikes in the border beds of the Olive Grove, in Flower Dome!
Written by: Ziana Yacob, Assistant Manager (Research and Horticulture)
Ziana's fascination with the many wonders of plants led her to study Horticulture. She has been involved in propagating plants and nurturing our in-house orchid collections. Keeping plants alive is a challenge and she's constantly learning about what she should or shouldn't be doing!