Verbascum (Mullein)

Verbascum (Mullein)


Verbascum can grow to a height of 3-6 feet. The large, grey-white, pointed leaves grow in a rosette. The long flower spikes rise rapidly from the center of the foliage, followed by secondary flower spikes. Most are biennial, but they self-seed freely creating yearly blooms.


Choose a well-drained, sheltered, sunny location. Verbascum will grow in almost any soil. If wind may be a problem, stake the plants before they become too dense. The fine seed can be sown in trays or directly in the garden. Pick the flowers as necessary. In very hot climates the flowers of some verbascum close during the day.

Culinary Use

Flowers make an attractive garnish.

Medicinal Uses

  • For a sore throat or phlegmy cough, make a tea with a few flowers, sufficient to make a good yellow liquid. Strain through muslin to remove fine hairs that might adhere to the flowers. Tea may also be used as a gargle.

  • Mullein is soothing to the digestive tract, and a few drops of an oil infusion are effective in treating earache and skin inflamations.

  • The leaves are sometimes used in medicinal teas, but should not be taken in excess as they are mildly toxic.

Other Uses

  • Flower arrangements.

  • Drying: Place the flowers face down on paper or racks away from light to preserve color and medicinal properties.

  • Use in potpouri.

  • Use in shoes or slippers to keep the feet warm and help ward off chilblains.

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