Common mullein, or flannel plant, grows along side roads or waste lands in the northwest section of the United States and is considered a weed by most people. A native of Europe, this plant offers many medicinal uses as well as adding beauty to the herb garden. A biennial, common mullein grows into a stately plant during its second year, measuring six feet or more. The second year growth results in a stalk covered with pods that produce a spiral of five-petal yellow flowers also valued in certain herbal remedies.
Brush away any debris that collected on the mullein leaves during the growing season. Use gloves or a paper towel to help with this process because the leaves are covered in fine hairs, making the surface feel like flannel, hence the name "flannel plant."
Collect any leaves desired for use by cutting with a sharp knife or pruning shears. The outer leaves of the first year rosettes decay along the edges as the mullein matures, making them undesirable for gathering.
Remove any spent plants from the flower bed. Common mullein dies after the second year's flower production. New plants are produced the following year by the thousands of seeds released from the seed pods. Removing the old plants allows plenty of room for the new growth in the spring. Common mullein rosettes grow into large plants, sometimes with leaves as long as a foot.
Refrain from mulching the first year rosettes of the mullein. The plant needs exposure to cold weather for flower production to occur in the next growing season.