Elecampane Seed

Inula helenium


Inula helenium

Herbaceous perennial. Native to southern and central Europe, the Balkan Peninsula and central Asia. Giant plant bearing handsome, yellow flowers. Harvest the octopus-like roots in the fall of the second year’s growth. Traditional usage (TWM): bronchial infection, pneumonia and debilitating, chronic cough. The plant is also processed to yield a blue dye.


Care Information


12 – 18 days at 65-75°F 

Days to Maturity

90 Days


Light-dependent germinator (plant on surface or only very shallowly covered, so light can penetrate)

Transplant – Sow 4 weeks before last frost. Barely cover the seed. Bottom water or mist to avoid covering the seed with displaced soil. After second set of leaves appear, transplant seedlings out to the garden, even if you still expect a few frosts.

Direct seed – Sow just before last frost. Cover seed lightly with soil. Broadcast seeding is not recommended. Keep moist. Thin to desired spacing.

Soil Requirements

well-moistened rich or clay soil

Light Preference

Plant prefers part shade and evermoist soils, although full sun will be tolerated.

Plant Spacing

24″ apart

Hardiness Zones

Zones 3 – 8


Medicinal: Elecampane is harvested in the fall of the second or third year. Waiting until the second year allows the roots to develop more fully and reach maximum size. Remove roots when the plant is dormant with a spading fork.


The roots are a wonderful medicine for the lungs, easing irritating bronchial coughs and asthma. The infused honey is especially wonderful for this as well. The tea or tincture can also be taken as a warming digestive aid and antimicrobial.
For more information on this herb, explore our farm library

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