Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

Scientific Name

Verbascum thapsus L.

Common Names

Common Mullein, Great Mullein, Aaron's Rod, Adam's Flannel, Wild Verbascum


Leiosandra cuspidata, Thapsus linnaei, Thapsus schraderi, Verbascum lanatum, Verbascum simplex

Scientific Classification

Family: Scrophulariaceae
Tribe: Scrophularieae
Genus: Verbascum


Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Summer


Verbascum thapsus is a hairy biennial plant that grows up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall. It produces a rosette of leaves in its first year of growth. The leaves are large, up to 20 inches (50 cm) long. The second-year plants normally produce a single unbranched stem. Flowers are small, yellow, and densely grouped. Flowering lasts up to 3 months, from early to late summer.

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)
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USDA Hardiness Zones 4a to 10b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Mullein needs a spot with full sun or partial shade and sandy or loamy soil that drains well. The roots are likely to rot in wet soil. A slightly acid pH is a plus but not absolutely necessary. Rich soil leads to sprawling plants and weak stems that are likely to flop.

Trim established Mullein to neaten them in early spring. If you set out new plants in spring, water them weekly for the first month if it hasn't rained. Established plants rarely need watering in spring. Before the end of spring, mulch around the plants to moderate the soil temperature, discourage weeds and prevent seeds that fall to the ground from making contact with soil. Species varieties self-sow readily, but hybrids don't.

Stake tall Mullein before the spikes become heavy with flowers. Tie the spikes loosely to the stake so they can move with the wind. Once the flowers fade, cut off the spike at the base. This extends the flowering season and prevents self-sowing. Although Mullein tolerates drought, the plants look their best if you water them during prolonged dry spells. Apply the water slowly, allowing the soil to absorb as much as possible. This encourages deep, spreading roots. See more at How to Grow and Care for Mullein (Verbascum)


Verbascum thapsus is native to Europe, northern Africa, and Asia.


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