How To Grow Mullein


Learning how to grow mullein is straightforward since it is not a fussy plant from a soil perspective. Mullein grows so well, that some people consider it a garden weed or pest, as it produces huge quantities of seeds that propagate easily.

The medicinal value of Mullein far out-weighs the nuisance value as an invasive weed. As long as you manage the growth and cut the seed stalk off before it opens for dispersal, you should be able to control the spread of the plant in your garden.

Growing Conditions

Mullein prefers a full sun, warm, dry location, so don’t plant it where it is going to get a lot of water.

It grows well in variety of soil types, from well-drained rich soil to poor rocky soils and has a low water requirement, so do not keep the soil constantly moist. Because of it’s high mineral content, mullein is considered a bio-remediater, so it restores poor soil quality.

Mullein is frost resistant. It tolerates temperature as low as -15 C (5 F). The plant will however, benefit from mulching before the first frost to insulate the roots from the cold.

The image below on the left shows a plant covered in frost and then shows the same plant after the frost, on the right, completely healthy!

How To Grow Mullein
Mullein Covered in Frost
How Tom Grow Mullein
Mullein After Defrosting

 How To Grow Mullein From Seed

Place the seeds 20cm (18 inches) apart lightly on top of the soil. The soil should be well drained. The plants can tolerate light shade, but prefer to grow in full sun. Keep watering to a minimum as they do not like soggy soil.

How To Grow Mullein From A Root Cutting

To grow a new plant from root is almost like cheating in its simplicity. Cut a root into sections of about 2cm lengths. Cut the bottom at an angle and the top straight in order to plant it facing the correct way up. Place the cuttings into seed trays filled with a germination mix from your local nursery or something like coconut quire and silica mix to hold some moisture without wetting the cuttings too much. Ensure it is moist all the time. Within about two weeks you should notice a bunch of shoots appearing on each root cutting. Simply pop this into your garden in a sunny spot.

Experimentation To Get Flowers Quicker

Typically, mullein plants grown from seed take two years to produce flowers. In their first year, the plants form a rosette of large, velvety (hairy) leaves up to 30cm, (1 foot) long.

Only in the second year, a flower spike grows, which is sometimes up to 2.5 metres, (8 feet) tall.

How To Grow Mullein

It is possible to grow mullein from root cuttings, and we are experimenting to see if plants grown from root cuttings will produce flowers sooner than those grown from seed.

The image to the left shows mullein grown from a root cutting.

As a comparison, the images below show a root cutting seedling and a seed germinated seedling.

How To Grow Mullein

The picture to the right shows young plants grown using both methods. The plant grown from seed – on the left, was planted on the 10th July, but the plant on the right was grown from the root cutting in August – almost a month later.

The root cutting plant has grown quicker and looks healthier and stronger than the seed grown plant!

We are wondering if plants grown using this method will produce flowers sooner than plants grown from seed! We will keep you informed on the progress!

If any readers have experimented with this, please leave a comment below and share with us how your mullein grew from root cutting compared to seedling grown.

How To Grow Mullein

Here the root cutting grown plant is on the left, showing strong growth, and the seed grown plant on the right.


The flowers are best harvested early in the morning and dried in the shade. Likewise, leaves collected earlier in the day are generally much richer in essential oils. If they are harvested in the afternoon they contain more glycosides, and the amount of essential oils are reduced.

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