Noxious Weed? Mullein

(Question)


This plant is growing in a part shady, sunny area on the west side of the house. I would like to remove the weed, but not sure if it is poisonous. Can you tell me the best way to remove the weed safely and so that it won’t return again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Answer)

Hello and thank you for providing the picture of this plant. It has certainly reached an impressive size. It appears to be located in a planting bed and may actually be a perennial called mullein (Verbascum) that can reach up to 180 cm high with flower colour yellow, white or orange. Mulleins can turn up uninvited in the garden stemming from weedy naturalized mulleins but in the right situation the hybrid varieties can be a real help, providing back of border colour in spots that are too dry and hot to successfully grow other tall, back-or-the-border plants.

This plant is not poisonous but can self seed ruthlessly, each capsule on a flower spike is capable of producing hundreds of seeds. Immediate removal before the flower spikes open is the step to take. It would be best not to dispose of this plant in your compost heap as this might not get hot enough to destroy the seeds.

Depending on how many years this plant has been there could mean there are seeds already in the soil ready to come again in future years, so vigilence will be required! Good luck.