Scutellaria lateriflora is the variety of skullcap used most often for alternative medicinal purposes. Native Americans use the herb for female problems and as a mild sedative. Others have used the herb for muscle spasms, anxiety, tension headaches, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia and to reduce epilepsy symptoms. A tea, of the leaves, can be made from the herb for such purposes. However, you can overdose on this herb, causing confusion, twitching and stupor. The rhizomes (roots) of the skullcap herb plant extend underground. New stems pop up off the extended rhizomes, causing the plant to eventually spread. If you wish to contain it to one area, grow it in a container plant or drop the container into the ground and cover it with soil.
Choose among the many varieties of skullcap you would like to grow. The herb produces a small colorful bloom (pink, violet, blue, red), making it a lovely addition to landscaping or an herb garden. Consider trying Pineland skullcap, Blue Ridge skullcap or Sierra skullcap.
Place the seeds in your refrigerator for a week. Skullcap seeds need a period of chilling in order to germinate. You may also plant them in containers and place them outdoors when the temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, also for a week.
Fill purchased seeding containers or reused food containers, such as yogurt, sour cream or cottage cheese, with potting soil. Leave a clear space of about 1/2 inch below the top of the containers.
Mist the soil with a water mister, just to moisten. Sprinkle one or two seeds in each container. Sprinkle a small amount of soil over them. The seeds are very small and do not require a deep planting. Gently pat the seeds down with your fingers, so they make contact with the soil. Place the seeded containers into a tray.
Cover the tray with a piece of kitchen plastic wrap, loosely. Place the tray by a sunny window. When the seeds begin to germinate (green sprouts through the soil), remove the plastic sheet.
Water the newly seeded soil each day, with your water mister. Do not allow the soil to become dry, but don’t over-water.
Plant your seedlings outdoors six to eight weeks after seeding, in late spring. Pick a full-sun or partial-shade location to plant your skullcap seedlings. However, if you live in a warm, dry climate, it’s best to shield the plant from direct sunlight. Space the seedlings at least 8 to 12 inches apart.