How to Grow Boneset | Guide to Growing Boneset

How to Grow Boneset | Guide to Growing Boneset  



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Boneset gets its name from its ability to "break bone fever." Used by North American Indians for stomach problems, colds, and fevers, in addition to arthritis and rheumatic ailments. Boneset has also been used to treat influenza, and is said to alleviate pain and reduce fever associated with such imbalance. European settlers used it as a cure-all. Boneset's odor is weak, but its taste is extremely bitter.


Biennial (zones 4-8)

7 to 14 days

2 years


Part shade to full sun

Leaf, Flower (both dried)

8" to 12" apart


Growing Guide
Boneset will grow to 2-4' and show bright white inflorensences from mid summer into mid fall.


Boneset prefers partial shade to full sun, though it is tolerant of both. Moist, rich soil will provide the best medium, although Boneset is somewhat drought tolerant during the summer months.


The best time to sow Boneset is in late summer or early fall. Otherwise, start seeds indoors about 3 weeks before the last expected frost of the season. Begin with a period of cold, moist stratification. Mix seeds with a moistened, suitable starting medium and place into sealed plastic bag, then into refrigerator for 30 days. During this period be sure to check bag periodically to make sure it remains moist. If seeds start to germinate, plant immediately outdoors, or to a container if still anticipating spring freezes.

After 30 day stratification, remove from refrigerator and sow seeds either in a greenhouse or warm indoor location, or direct sow outdoors. Seeds are very small and require light for germination. Cover with a very thin layer of soil, and keep moist with a spray bottle or similar technique that will not disturb the seeds as they begin to germinate. Keep moist until seedlings are well established.


Harvesting Guide
The flowering bloom and upper leaves can be collected using a garden snip or scissors, typically in mid to late summer.



NOTE Boneset is toxic in high doses.


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