Mullein Growing Guide
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Mullein Growing Guide

What is Mullein?

Mullein is a herbaceous biennial or a short-lived perennial herb that is Native to Europe, northern Africa, and Asia. Once mature, this plant typically reaches up from 2-7 feet tall and can be up to 2.5 wide. A drought-tolerant variety, mullein produces bright yellow blooms with five-petaled flowers grouped closely on a leafy spike. Loved by pollinators alike, it also has medicinal properties. Verbascum densiflorum. Mullein typically grows best in USDA hardiness zones 3-9. This plant does grow wild in the United States and Canada. You can grow it in almost any type of soil, it does require moist soil when growing from seed. If starting indoors, scatter them on the top of your seed starting mix and lightly cover them with soil. Once they have grown a true set of leaves, transplant them into the garden or into a bigger container.

How to Start Growing Mullein

Plant in early spring after the last frost in moist soil when it has reached at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover seeds thinly and press tightly into the earth. Keep in full sun. Mullein does not flower in it’s first year, instead forming a wooly rosette of leaves which can be harvested. Plants will flower in its second year and die after this blooming season.

Did You Know?

Ancient Roman women supposedly used the flowers to dye their graying hairs yellow.

Our Favorite Mullein to Grow

Mullein Plant Spacing

In-Ground Planting

Row Spacing - 2 feet

Plant Spacing - 8 to 12 inches

Planting Depth - 1/16 inch

Raised Bed Planting

Row Spacing - 2 feet

Plant Spacing - 8 to 12 inches

Planting Depth - 1/16 inch

Mullein Soil, Irrigation, & Fertilizer

Soil Requirements to Grow Mullein

  • Loose, well-draining soil
  • pH between 6.5 and 7.0
  • Rich in organic materials
  • Good quality compost added to the soil

Mullein Irrigation Requirements

Mullein plants need at least 1 inch of water per week. Mature plants only need watering during prolonged droughts. Using drip irrigation is always recommended to be sure that your plants are getting moisture directly to their root system. If you’re using conventional overhead watering techniques, try and use something like the Dramm Watering Can and water and fertilize at the base of the plant to keep moisture off the leaves. 

Raised Bed Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting

Test your soil at your local extension office.

At Time of Planting

After adjusting soil pH to 6.5 – 7.0, mix 1 1/2 cups per 10 ft. of row or ¼ cup per plant of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil.

2 Weeks After Planting

1 cup Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement with 5 gallons of water. Each plant gets 1 quart of the solution next to the plant stem. Repeat every 4 weeks.

4 Weeks After Planting and Every 4 Weeks

¼ cup Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer per plant evenly spread around plant.

In-Ground Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting

Test your soil at your local extension office.

At Time of Planting

After adjusting soil pH to 6.5 – 7.0, mix 1 1/2 cups per 10 ft. of row or ¼ cup per plant of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil.

2 Weeks After Planting

1 cup Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement with 5 gallons of water. Each plant gets 1 quart of the solution next to the plant stem. Repeat every 4 weeks.

4 Weeks After Planting and Every 4 Weeks

¼ cup Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer per plant evenly spread around plant.

Mullein Pest & Disease Protection

Insects

Organic Controls

Horticulture Oil
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, Thrips

Bug Buster-O
Aphids, Flea Beetles, Whiteflies, Moths, Armyworms

Monterey BT
Caterpillars, Cabbage Loppers

Take Down Garden Spray
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Moths

Diatomaceous Earth
Cutworms, Ants, Slugs

Sluggo Plus
Slugs

Treat as needed using label instructions.

Common Diseases

Organic Controls

Complete Disease Control
Gray Mold, Leaf Spots, Anthracnose, Powdery Mildew

Treat as needed using label instructions.

Harvesting, Preserving, and Storing Mullein

When & How To Harvest Mullein

Harvest in summer, or whenever the plant blooms. Pick the flowers and leaves when they’re completely dry, with no dew or rain on them. Remove foreign material before drying but do not wash. The flowers and leaves can be spread over a paper towel or screen and allowed to air dry for several days. Or, you can hang a bundle of stems to dry in a dark, dry place.

Storing & Keeping Mullein

If using to make infused oil or tincture, go ahead and use them right away. You can store dried flowers for tea in brown paper bags or jars, out of sunlight for several months. Once they’ve started losing color, they’ve started losing potency.

Browse Our Mullein!

Mullein Growing Tips & Tricks

Expectorant

Mullein is an expectorant, which means it helps the body expel excess mucus, usually by helping make your coughs more productive, to bring up mucus that may be settling in the chest or in the throat. It is also a demulcent. Studies show that demulcents create a soothing anti-inflammatory coating over mucous membranes. Please consult a physician before use.

Cold-Hardy

Also frost-resistant, mullein tolerates temperatures as cold as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. For extra root protection, mulch before the projected frost date with twigs, leaves, and bark. However, the plant needs to be exposed to the cold in its first year in order to flower in its second, so keep the mulch light and loose.

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