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How to Grow Mullein from Seed

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

Mullein (Verbascum thapsis and other species) is a biennial herb that grows wild in many areas and in diverse climate zones. It’s an unusual looking plant when it’s in flower during its second year of life—the tall flower spike can reach six feet or higher, and it is covered with small yellow flowers that typically bloom in the morning. After the flowers fade, each one turns into a pod that contains literally hundreds of tiny seeds that you can harvest if you want to begin more plants. But once mullein is a part of your landscape, chances are it will naturally reseed itself—you might end up with many more mullein plants than you want or need.

Growing Mullein from Seed

Gather seeds from an existing mullein plant or purchase them from a seed catalog.

In late summer, scatter a small number of these tiny seeds on the soil surface where you want your mullein to grow. There’s no need to amend the soil with organic materials before you plant because mullein prefers poor, disturbed soil and it thrives in rocky areas.

Pat the seeds into the soil with your palm to compact them. Do not cover them with soil. This is a wild plant, so try to emulate the conditions under which it grows in the wild.

Sprinkle the area with water and keep it moist throughout the winter if rains do not achieve this condition.


Things You Will Need

  • Mullein seeds
  • Sunny, dry location


  • Mullein does best when you seed it directly into the ground rather than starting seeds in pots because it does not transplant well.
  • If your area receives snow, your mullein will sprout after it melts in the spring. You needn't protect your seeds from cold weather.
  • To make an herbal ear oil, collect mullein flowers in the morning, place them in a small jar about half full and then fill the jar with olive oil. Cover it and allow it to steep in the sun for one to two weeks. Strain the mixture and transfer it to a dropper bottle. When soreness begins in your ear, drop two to four drops of the oil in your ear, massage the area and then wipe any excess oil from your skin.


  • Be cautious when using plant medicine and always consult with a medical practitioner before you use any herbal formulas.



About the Author


Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.