Mullein

(Verbascum thapsus) Mullein is a biennial herb native to Asia, northern Africa and Europe. It is hardy from USDA zones 4-9. This beloved herb grows wild in North America, with its signature lamb's ear soft leaves and tall spikes of yellow flowers. Mullein is incredibly versatile and can be used from topical treaments to teas. The plush leaves have long been nicknamed "cowboy toilet paper." However, it should be noted that the leaves can be pretty irritating if brushed in the wrong direction, so we caution against using it in that way (try broad plantain leaf instead). The plants are quite easy to grow as they are naturalized in many areas and are in fact considered aggressive and even invasive in some states. The best course of action with mullein is to plan a space in your garden/land where you can manage an overly eager plant and prepare a management strategy ahead of time. Direct sow seeds in fall or spring. Alternatively you can surface sow seeds and sprinkle with a fine layer of soil. Seeds will greatly benefit from cold treatment; you can sow your seeds outdoors in the coolest part of the season or stick them in the fridge for 4-6 weeks before you plant them. If starting indoors, sow seeds 6-8 weeks before last frost. Ideal germination temperature is 65-75F (but they will germinate in a range of temperatures). 7-21 days to germination. Space plants 18 inches apart. Plant in full sun to part shade. Mullein prefers dry rocky/sandy soil or any soil with excellent drainage.

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