Growing and Saving the Seed Of Mullein
Latin name Verbascum densiflorum is a biennial or short-lived perennial member of the Scrophulariaceae, or figwort, family. Hardy from USDA zones 4-8. In the first year this plant will produce a rosette of soft leaves and in the second year send up a tall flower spike that has been likened to a torch. Indeed the bright yellow flowers do set the landscape aflame with color.
Native to Europe and Asia. Dioscorides listed a number of medicinal uses for mullein and it has been in traditional use since ancient times.
- Mullein makes a lovely ornamental and can be grown in rock gardens, xeriscape gardens, and even looks nice in the cottage garden or wildflower meadow.
- It is typically found as a useful ground cover after a site has been disturbed, often in depleted areas.
- Beds, back of borders, containers, row planting, cut flower production, pollinator garden, native wildflower garden, meadow, planted in the vegetable patch.
- Seeds germinate in 14-21 days.
- Direct sow seeds in fall/winter or start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date.
- Surface sow seeds (they are very, very tiny) as light aids germination.
- When sowing outdoors, you can lightly cover them.
- Ideal germination temperature is 70-80 F.
- Prefers well-drained soil, although mullein is tolerant of a range of soil conditions, including poor soil.
- Drought tolerant.
- Provide full sun to part shade.
- Space plants at least 18-24 inches apart.
- A pest-free plant.
- It is not typically considered invasive, but if you are concerned about potential invasiveness, ask your local extension agent for more information specific to your region.
- This biennial will send up a flower stalk in the second year.
- Allow flower stalk to turn brown and dry before saving the tiny seeds.
- Store in a cool, dark, dry place.