Verbascum (Cotswold Group) 'Gainsborough'
Photo by CandideUK (All rights reserved)
6 months to reach maturity
This plant has no fragrance
Mullein 'Gainsborough' Overview
Verbascum 'Gainsborough' (Cotswold Group) is a short-lived perennial which is often treated as an annual. It grows to 1 to 1.2m tall from a basal rosette of grey-green leaves. The flowers are produced in spikes of yellow flowers which are marked with purple. Commonly known as Mullein 'Gainsborough', it prefers a light alkaline soil with sun and good drainage and is ideal for including in informal cottage style mixed borders, giving height and interest. This cultivar has earnt a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Garden Merit. It is also part of the RHS “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants which support pollinator populations by providing ample amounts of nectar and/ or pollen. A great choice for encouraging pollinating insect wildlife into your garden!
How to harvest Mullein 'Gainsborough'
Flower spikes can be cut for floral arrangements as required. Collect seed in autumn once the seed heads have ripened. Store in paper bags or envelopes in cool dry conditions for use the next year.
How to propagate Mullein 'Gainsborough'
In late autumn or early winter while the plant is dormant. Lift the whole root ball and wash the roots free of soil. Select pencil thick roots - a total of a third of the root ball - and cut away as close to the crown as possible. Cut away any fibrous lateral roots and the thin end of the root leaving a section between 5 - 10 cm (2-4") in length. When cutting the thin end away, make an angled cut to remind you which way up the cutting needs to be replanted. Using a gritty free draining compost insert the cuttings 4cm (2") apart with the top of the cutting just below the surface of the compost. A top dressing of grit (1cm 3/8") can be added. Water lightly and place the pot in a cool location such as a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. Pot on into individual pots the following spring when they produce signs of growth.
Verbascum self-seeds readily, however young seedlings need to be moved in early autumn before they develop deep tap roots which do not like being disturbed. Seedlings of cultivated and hybrid varieties may not produce the same flowers as their parents. Sow collected seeds in April or May into trays of pre watered seed compost. Maintain the temperature at 15º-18ºC out of direct sunlight. Germination should take between 14 to 30 days. Prick-out seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into individual pots and grow on in cool conditions. Plant out when the roots reach the bottom of the pot into their final position.
Special features of Mullein 'Gainsborough'
Attracts useful insects
Other uses of Mullein 'Gainsborough'
These drought resistant plants suit being included in gravel and dry gardens as well as informal cottage garden mixed borders and wildlife friendly spaces.