Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Traditionally used to maintain healthy pulmonary systems, including moistening mucous membranes and as a soothing agent to support healthy throats, bronchi and lungs. Also used as a dye plant for colors ranging from yellow to grey.

How to Grow Mullein from Seed

Bed Preparation

Choose a site with full sun-partial shade. Mullein is tolerant of a wide variety of soils, including dry, gravelly areas. Drought and heat tolerant.


Mullein seeds germinate best when exposed to a period of cold, moist conditions (cold stratification). Direct sow mullein seed outdoors in fall where they will germinate the following spring. Seed can also be started indoors in spring 6 weeks before the last frost. If started indoors, cold stratify seeds in a refrigerator for 4-6 weeks prior to planting. Mullein seeds require light to germinate. Sow seeds 8-12" apart on the soil surface and press lightly to settle. Seeds will sprout in 12-15 days. Transplant seedlings outdoors once danger of frost has passed. Thin seedlings so that mature plants are 20-24" apart.


All parts of the mullein plant are used in traditional medicine. Harvest roots in the first fall or following spring with a garden fork. Leaves can be hand pulled at any time during the growing season. Harvest flowers when in full bloom. Cut the upper 3-6" of the flower stalk. Parts can be used fresh or dry.

To dry mullein, choose a warm dry location and thoroughly dry parts before storing in a paper bag or glass container. Keep in a cool, dry location.

How to Save Mullein Seeds

Mullein is a biennial, meaning it flowers, sets seed and dies during its second year of growth. Allow plants to overwinter in your garden and the tall flower stalks will appear the following summer. Seeds mature in fall. Collect seeds when flowers have dried and turned brown. Store seeds in a cool dry place. Seeds will remain viable for 2 years.