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How to Grow Skullcap

By Joyce Starr ; Updated September 21, 2017

There are several varieties of skullcap native to North America. Two are Scutellaria lateriflora and Scutellaria incana. Both are members of the family Lamiaceae, which includes mints, but are showier. Found growing wild in moist thickets, marshes and woods, skullcap’s medicinal use dates back centuries. Growing to a height of one to four feet, this herbaceous perennial has flowers that resemble snapdragons. Skullcap is hardy once established and will spread quite rapidly throughout the garden.

Wait until early spring to plant the skullcap plants or seeds. They will germinate better if the weather is still slightly cool.

Select an area in your garden where the soil is moist and receives full to partial sun conditions. Plant the skullcap in partial sun, if your weather conditions are prone to be hot and dry.

Rid the planting site of weeds before planting. Remove any weeds, grasses or other vegetation by either pulling them out by hand, or using an herbicide. Wait one week before planting the skullcap into the site, if herbicides are used. This will allow the poison time to wash from the area. Keep the growing site weed free for best growth.

Amend the soil with rich organic material such as peat, compost or manure. Work the organic material into the soil to a depth of approximately one foot. Skullcap prefers growing in a rich soil medium.

Dig a hole that is twice the size of the skullcap’s root ball. Place the plant into the hole and cover with soil. Pack the soil firmly around the base of the plant. Space plants one foot apart.

Sow skullcap seeds directly into the garden at a depth of one inch. Space the seeds approximately one foot apart, to give the plants room to grow once they have germinated.

Water the skullcap in well, once planted. Keep the planting site moist, but not flooded. Water the planting site regularly to keep the soil moist. Skullcap will not grow well in dry areas where there is no moisture.

Fertilize the skullcap with compost, once you begin to harvest. Apply a layer around the base of the plant and water in well.


Things You Will Need

  • Herbicide
  • Peat
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Shovel
  • Water


  • Diseases affecting skullcap are stem rot, leaf spots and powdery mildew.
  • Contrary to folk lore, skullcap does not cure rabies in man or animals.

About the Author


For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.