‘Governor George Aiken’ (Verbascum) is a distinctive strain of mullein with large, white blooms on stout spikes that reach 5 to 6 feet tall. The first year, it forms a broad rosette of fuzzy, gray leaves. The second year, it quickly sends up sturdy stems with hundred of buds that begin opening along the spike in early summer. As the summer progresses, side spikes also develop, continuing the bloom show into late summer. Fresh flowers open each morning, and bees adore them! Full sun and average to dry, well-drained soil is ideal. I don’t know the exact hardiness range of this biennial mullein, but the original seeds came to me from a gardener in Vermont, and the plants are fully hardy in my Zone 6/7 garden in Pennsylvania.
When your plants flower, I encourage you to collect the seeds and share them with gardening friends and seed exchanges so this beautiful strain doesn’t get lost. Unlike many other mulleins, ‘Governor George Aiken’ doesn’t seem to set much seed, and when it does, it has very tight seedpods, so it takes a bit of work to get them open and extract the seeds. That trait also means that you’re not likely to get many self-sown seedlings, so be sure to keep some of the harvested seeds for yourself too.
Collected in August to October 2020. At least 20 seeds.