Mullein Seed Pack


Verbascum thapsus. 

Mullein has long been associated with supporting the respiratory system, most often used to help remove congestion and moisten a dry, irritated cough. It also loves healing the ears. 

With its wonderfully soft leaves and ascendant golden-yellow flowering spike, mullein brings a shaft of bright light into the garden. There is something about mullein that invites having direct contact and being touched, whether its stroking a velvety leaf or grasping the towering flower spike. 

Mullein is one of those plants that grows in the most unexpected places – out of a crack in a wall, or between two paving stones. Its success as a coloniser of bare and disturbed soil is one of the reasons it has such a wide native range, from Western Europe to North Africa and Asia. Its disregard for nutrient-rich soils should be considered before choosing its place in the garden, and grow it in the sunniest position you can. 

Sowing and Growing 

Mullein is one of those plants that seems to have an issue with authority – it does what it likes and prefers not to follow instructions. So, in the spirit of mullein, don’t follow our guidelines too closely…. the plants will grow if (and where) they want to! 

We have found that the seed doesn’t germinate well until the soil has warmed up a bit so recommend waiting until late spring to sow indoors or early summer if sowing outdoors. Sow more seeds than you think you’ll need to compensate for erratic germination. Scatter the seeds on the surface and gently press into the soil; do not cover with soil as the seeds require light to germinate. Keep the soil moist while you wait. 

Transplant into individual pots and plant out once the plants have a few true leaves. Mullein produces tap roots that do not like to be exposed, disturbed or confined, so try not to leave the plants in pots for too long. 

Mullein requires full sunshine and prefers well-drained soil. It may require regular watering for the first few days or weeks after being transplanted, but once its tap root is established in its new home it requires very little watering, if any. 

It is a prolific seed producer and probably the most satisfying of all herbs to collect seed from. Wait until the spike has turned golden brown, carefully cut it at the bottom and turn it upside down into a bucket….. we once harvested 47g from one giant plant, which comes to around 60,000 seeds! If you leave the seeds to fall naturally, it will self-seed, but rarely where you want or expect it to…. 

Being a biennial, it only produces flowers in the 2nd year, so you’ll need to sow fresh seed every spring to ensure you have flowers every year. 

Uses and Benefits 

Like many hirsute (hairy) plants, mullein’s leaves are used for nourishing the whole respiratory system. It’s softness seems to activate the cilia helping to remove congestion, whilst its demulcent nature moistens a dry, irritated cough. It soothes hardness and eases blockage. It contains some mucilage, saponins, tannins and flavonoids that all contribute by relaxing, counter-irritating, astringing and healing to its long-held use as an lung tonic expectorant. 

Its leaf shape is also perfect as a field-bandage for a bruise or twist, or it can be used as herbal-flannel soaked in hot herbal tea or vinegar and applied across the chest and neck for a sore throat. 

The flowers are found in remedies for inflamed and painful ears (see below for safe use).

Harvesting and Preparation

 Harvest the softest leaves from second-year plants, by picking them off individually early in the summer, before the flower spike appears – and before the eponymously named Mullein Moth caterpillar gets to it, leaving a wake of dust and detritus in its wake. As the leaves are so spongy and hygroscopic, its best to harvest towards the end of the day after any dew has evaporated. Either peg them with a clothes peg on a mullein-drying-line or lay the leaves out on a drying rack and dry at 40C overnight and store in an airtight container. 

The flowers are harvested later in the summer by plucking them from the flower spike – and they can be dried or just put straight into a jar of oil, continually adding flowers over a couple of weeks. Here’s how to make an infused oil. 

To make a tea use a tablespoon of cut herb in a cup of freshly boiled water and leave to infuse for 15 minutes, sieve thoroughly, and drink warm. Can go well with other demulcent expectorants such as licorice, thyme and elecampane. The brilliant Mrs Grieve said it how it is back in 1936, “The homely but valuable ‘mullein tea’, a remedy of the greatest antiquity for coughs and colds, must always be strained through fine muslin to remove any hairs that may be floating in the hot water, which was poured over the flowers or leaves. They can cause intolerable itching in the mouth.” 

Include in a syrup including similar herbs as in the tea. 

To make a tincture make s 1:5@40%. 

If you make an oil it is especially important if using fresh flowers that you heat the oil before using in the ear. 

Certified organic. Minimum 100 seeds per pack.