Common Mullein

Discussion in 'Annuals, Biennials, Perennials, Ferns and Bulbs' started by Frank Egan, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Frank Egan

    Frank Egan Member

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    Dear Folks,

    Have tried searching a while for info on Mullein as to what a high
    concentration on my 5 acres is telling me and I keep coming up blank.
    I am aware of all the reputed health benefits and that seeds can lay dormant
    for 100 years. I'm not interested in eratication, just trying to understand why
    the high concentration. Is the soil fertile or infertile? Mineral, ph, chemical issues?

    Specifically, what I'm interested in is mullein's chemical and mineral content and
    what elements in the soil favor its growth.

    Thanks for your thoughts and best wishes.

    Frank
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Probably fairly infertile soil, as mulleins can cope with that, but can't take much competition from other plants on fertile sites.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    One common name is railroad plant, due to tendency to appear in sand and rock of railroad lanes. Herbicides are used to keep these clear of vegetation, so chemical tolerance of mullein coming up there implied.
     
  4. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    I consider it an opportunistic weed. It can't compete with tall companions, but sprouts everywhere others fail to colonise. The masssive, thick "tap" roots are probably one reason why.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Massive thick roots on Verbascum thapsus?
     
  6. DJR

    DJR Member

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    This thread is of interest to me because I'm trying to eradicate common mulleins from the boulder-built retaining wall that separates me from my neighbours. If they would stay there or stay at two or three plants I could enjoy them but they’ve broadcast their seed from the boundary and are popping up in my beds and lawn.
    Weekend Gardener and I agree; these invaders, even as youngsters, are difficult to pull out because of their massive tap roots.
    If, as Weekend Gardener says, mulleins don’t like to compete with tall companions, I shall try seeding their stronghold cracks and crevices with fast-growing, tall annuals. Sunflowers come immediately to mind but I’m not sure they’d offer too much shade. Maybe I’ll try sunflower seeds this year for the short-term, plus plant Joe Pye Weed for a longer term solution. Other suggestions welcome.
    From www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Verbascum+thapsus, I learned that:
    "The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. "
    It sounds like the only things that will deter this plant are shade and maritime exposure. In the Okanagan, we're short on both conditions. DJR
     

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