VERBASCUM Rock Mullein

The stately 6 ft Mulleins which grace the back of the border have three lowly relatives which are at home in the rock garden. The family traits are there – the need for a sunny home, leaves which are hairy or spiky and a profusion of saucer-shaped blooms.

VARIETIES: The rockery species which is closest in growth habit to the border Mulleins is V.dumulosum – height 9 in. .spread 1 ft.

Flowering period: June-July. The flowering spikes bearing yellow blooms grow firm and upright from tufts of greyish, woolly leaves. V. spinosum is quite different – the leaves are toothed and spiny, and the yellow blooms are borne in loose flower-heads. These two species were accidentally crossed at Wisley Gardens and the resulting hybrid has become the most popular Rock Mullein – V. ‘Letitia’. The basic details are height 9 in., spread 1 ft. floweringperiodJune-August. It isashrubby perennial with velvety leaves and is covered by 2 in. yellow blooms in summer.

SITE AND SOIL: Requires well-drained soil and full sun.

PROPAGATION: Plant root cuttings in a cold frame in late winter.

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