How to Grow Mullein | Guide to Growing Mullein

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How to Grow Mullein | Guide to Growing Mullein  



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The Greeks, Romans, British and Native Americans have all used Mullein to treat a number of respiratory conditions, from a mild cough to bronchitis and asthma. The dried stalks of Mullein have also been used as torches. The flowers can be used to create bright yellow or green dyes, which were used by the ancient Romans to color hair, according to "Healing Teas" by Marie Nadine Antol. Greek mythology holds that Ulysses carried Mullein to protect himself from the evil Circe. For these purposes the leaves can be smoked or used to prepare tea.


Biennial (zones 4-9)

7 to 21 days

2 years

Sandy, well-drained soil

Full sun

Flower, Leaf

16" apart

180 days-15 months

Growing Guide
Greek Mullein can grow to a height of 5' or more, and by late summer the upper stalks will be covered with copious quantities of small, bright yellow flowers. Typically lives for 3-4 years.


Greek Mullein will grow best with full sun and dryish, sandy to rocky, well-drained soil. Water needs are low to moderate.


Greek Mullein can be direct sown in late summer or fall, started indoors in spring. If direct sowing in fall, cover seeds with a thin layer of soil (approx ⅜"), and if possible a layer of mulch.


If starting indoors, a 30 day period of cold stratification is recommended. Mix seeds with a moistened medium and place into plastic bag in refrigerator.

Check periodically to ensure that mixture remains moist, and if seeds start to germinate plant and leave in a warm location indoors such as a greenhouse. After stratification, sow seeds in flats, 2-3 per grouping aprroximately ⅜" below the surface of the soil. Keep moist and transplant outdoors once first true leaves are established.


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Harvesting Guide
The flowers can be collected in late summer, once they have opened. The golden blossoms can be collected without any equipment, just wear gloves and bring a large bucket or sack to deposit flowers. To harvest, grab stalk (it will likely be at shoulder level or so), and carefully bend. Wearing gloves, pinch stalk with thumb and pointer finger below lowest blossoms and, proceeding towards the top of the plant, strip off all flowers into bucket or sack. The leaves can be collected just prior to blooming, during the first year, or once the plant is well-established in late summer of the first year.



NOTE Mullein causes allergic reactions in a small population.

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