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Mullein moth

Am I asking for trouble?  The year before last lots of mullein appeared in my garden.  I got rid of it all.  More popped up this year and I pulled that too - apart from one which I thought I might let flower, just to see what it looked like.  
Now caterpillars of the mullein moth have appeared on it and I thought that it was great that I have something wildlife wants to eat (which is not my cabbages).
But I have some ornamental verbasum in another part of the garden which I don't want to sacrifice to hungry caterpillars.  Torn between gardening for wildlife (ie, providing habitat and food, not just nectar and pollen) and not wanting my ornamental verbascums decimated.

Gardening in East Suffolk on dry sandy soil.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,151
    I feel your pain ... I love mullein moths and their caterpillars ... and I love verbascums too ... I would decide which verbascums were destined to be caterpillar fodder and transfer any caterpillars on the precious plants over to the sacrificial ones  :D

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • KayJKayJ Posts: 74
    I gave up growing verbascum because of the mullein moth caterpillar infestations. Noticed a couple on my buddleja the other day, which they also feed on, so maybe I need a sacrificial verbascum or two.....
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,311
    Habitat all the way for me

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • JellyfireJellyfire Posts: 1,139
    I’d do what @Dovefromabove suggests, just keep an eye on the verbascum you don’t want munched, knock any caterpillars onto a seed tray and pop it near the ones you don’t mind sacrificing 
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,939
    If you have anywhere locally that has an invasive buddleja problem then relocating them there would probably be quite helpful. I've been trying to attract the moths here but no luck so far. 
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,884
    I grow the Mullein just for the moths.  They do get shredded but I don’t mine that,  I’m sure our bats enjoy the moths. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • didywdidyw Posts: 3,210
    Thanks everyone.  The caterpillars can stay - and I'll just keep an eye on the more ornamental verbascums and relocate to the sacrificial mullein should any caterpillars appear on those.
    Gardening in East Suffolk on dry sandy soil.
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,533
    Interesting as last year we had verbascums growing that we hadn't planted. Nearby was a mullein (also not planted but seeds from another in the garden). The mullein was soon stripped down by the caterpillars but the nearby verbascums weren't touched. No idea which verbascums they are but they stayed in flower for nearly 9 months.
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,576
    I assume verbascums aren't bothered by slugs & snails then? 
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