Skullcap Plant: Growing Scutellaria Species Plants

Scutellaria is a big genus of herbaceous perennial crops within the Lamiaceae (mint) household. Different associated herbs within the mint household embrace lavender, rosemary, and basil. The genus was named after the latin phrase “scutella” which implies a small dish or cup in reference to the form of the calyx after flowers fall.The widespread title of “skullcap” refers to navy helmets worn within the Center Ages.

There are lots of of skullcap herbs around the globe which have tailored to totally different rising situations. In North America, essentially the most broadly discovered is the native Scutellaria lateriflora species with the becoming widespread title, the American skullcap. 

There are additionally regional varieties discovered around the globe together with Scutellaria suffrutescens (pink skullcap) and Scutellaria californica (California skullcap). One of the crucial broadly studied skullcap varieties is Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese language skullcap) which has been utilized in conventional natural medicines for hundreds of years. Many skullcap merchandise are discovered in the marketplace in the present day as natural remedies.

Skullcaps are comparatively simple to develop and face few pests and ailments. They bloom in showy splashes of pink, purple, white, and blue flowers. Completely different skullcap herb varieties are appropriate to totally different rising situations, however normally, their hardiness and sweetness make them a superb and colourful addition to many landscapes.  

Fast Care Information

Skullcap plant.
Frequent Title Blue skullcap, mad canine skullcap, side-flowering skullcap, cherry skullcap, Mexican skullcap, pink Texas skullcap, pink skullcap, California skullcap, Chinese language skullcap.
Scientific Title Scutellaria spp.
Household Lamiaceae (mint)
Peak & Unfold 2-3 toes tall, 1.5-2.5 toes unfold  
Gentle Full solar to partial shade 
Soil Most species want well-draining soil. Completely different species have totally different preferences for soil acidity. 
Water Medium to moist relying on species
Pests & Illnesses Aphids, whiteflies, powdery mildew 

All About The Skullcap Plant

Skullcap buds
Skullcap buds.

The skullcap plant, Scutellaria spp., is an herbaceous perennial plant within the mint household. As with many mints, this plant additionally has sq. stalks and spreads by rhizomes and runners. They might have compact, cushion, or mound-forming development habits. 

The aerial elements of the plant will die again within the winter and are available again as new crops by forming shiny inexperienced basal rosette clusters within the spring. Many stems will emerge from the rosette because the season progresses. Use the skullcap herb in your panorama as a wildflower border, by a pond, or as a part of a rock backyard. The flowers have an added advantage of attracting pollinators.

There are lots of totally different species within the Scutellaria genus, however all of them share the tell-tale traits of getting skullcap-shaped calyx on the base of their flowers. The tubular, two-lipped, and indeterminate flowers are organized on higher leaf axils just like the look of snapdragons. Leaf axils will sometimes have as much as 14 flowers. 

Leaves are ovate and organized in an reverse configuration alongside the stems. Leaf colours vary from lime inexperienced to darkish inexperienced and a few have leaves with toothed margins. Many widespread names of skullcaps are named after colours such because the pink skullcap, cherry skullcap, and blue skullcap. Skullcap could also be spelled scullcap as one other variation. 

Some 35 species of skullcaps have been studied for his or her pharmacological potential with Scutellaria baicalensis being essentially the most broadly studied because of its excessive concentrations of flavonoids. Whereas not regulated as a medication within the U.S., shoppers can discover skullcap tea and extracts offered in the marketplace as natural therapy for anxiousness, sleep issues, and extra. 

Kinds of Skullcap

Scutellaria baicalensis
Scutellaria baicalensis.

The Scutellaria genus consists of roughly 350 totally different plant species discovered all around the world in temperate areas. There are lots of species native to North America. These herbs are grown for each their decorative and medicinal worth. 

The Scutellaria lateriflora species (American skullcap) is an herb that’s native throughout North America and may be discovered as far north as Quebec and Newfoundland and as far south as Florida. This skullcap is customized to moist environments resembling marshy meadows, floodplains, ponds, streams, and many others. They’ve three variations of shade: pink, white, and blue flowers. 

They bloom from July to early October and are very suited to wetland areas. The title “lateriflora” means “flowering on the facet” as a result of the flowers bloom alongside one sided racemes. This species can be generally often called blue skullcap, mad canine skullcap, mad canine weed, and side-flowering skullcap. Researchers are actively finding out the consequences of the blue skullcap herb on anxiousness and sleep issues. 

Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese language skullcap) is indigenous to East Asia and elements of Russia. For hundreds of years, the Chinese language have been utilizing the roots of this plant in conventional and pure medicines to deal with numerous illnesses together with diarrhea, dysentery, hypertension, and many others. It’s additionally generally often called the Baikal skullcap or Huang Qin. Just like Scutellaria lateriflora, this skullcap herb additionally produces blue and purple flowers. 

Scutellaria suffrutescens (pink skullcap) is thought for its showy bloom of pink flowers. Regardless of certainly one of its widespread names being the pink Texas skullcap, this herb will not be native to Texas, however took off after its introduction because of its tolerance to droughts. It may be greatest grown in rocky or sandy soil with good drainage and in full solar with some afternoon shade. This plant has a woody base that doesn’t die down yearly and its leaves are semi-evergreen in frost-free areas.  

Scutellaria californica (California skullcap) is an herb native to the low elevation mountains of Northern California. This plant produces small yellow and white flowers that bloom in June and July and is claimed to odor like apples. It prefers to develop in well-draining soil and in an space with partial shade.  

Skullcap Plant Care

Scutellaria alpina
Scutellaria alpina.

Skullcap herbs are simple to take care of as soon as established. Nonetheless, totally different kinds of this plant have totally different necessities. Some, just like the Scutellaria lateriflora, are widespread in wetlands whereas others, just like the Scutellaria suffrutescens, are very drought tolerant.  

Solar and Temperature

Completely different Scutellaria species have totally different hardiness, solar, and temperature necessities. S.lateriflora has the widest vary and may be grown in USDA hardiness zone 2b to 7b. Different herb species have far more restricted vary and like zones 6b to 8a. Generally, Scutellaria spp. develop greatest in 6 or extra hours of direct daylight per day with some partial afternoon shade. Solar is a significant component to the standard and amount of flowers. 

Water and Humidity

Water and humidity necessities range drastically relying on the variability. When interested by introducing a skullcap to your backyard, rigorously contemplate your present situations and select a spread best suited to your wants. Many are drought-tolerant after being established.


Most Scutellaria spp. want medium to well-draining soil that’s excessive in natural matter and has sandy or shallow rocky textures. Soil pH preferences additionally range relying on kind. When grown as a medical herb, Scutellaria crops are particularly put beneath environmental stress resembling poor soil high quality to advertise the manufacturing of flavonoids.

Fertilizing Your Skullcap Plant

Skullcap flowers and foliage
Skullcap flowers and foliage.

Scutellaria spp. are hardy herbs that don’t want fertilization as soon as established. If you’re attempting to advertise extra flowers, use a slow-release fertilizer and observe the producer’s directions. Select a fertilizer low in nitrogen to advertise flowering as an alternative of leaf development.  

Pruning Your Skullcap Plant

Pruning aerial elements is helpful for this perennial herb. Early spring is an effective time to prune outdated woody limbs and to advertise extra full development in the course of the plant which tends to skinny out with time. 

Skullcap Plant Propagation

Many Scutellaria spp. can germinate from seed or be propagated by way of taking root cuttings. They are often planted anytime in the course of the 12 months and tend to self seed. Every flower stalk can produce many small black seeds. Seeds want a interval of chilly stratification and will take as much as 30 days to germinate. Nurseries focusing on native crops will usually promote ready-to-transplant seedlings. 


Scutellaria spp. are hardy herbs as soon as established in a backyard. They’ve only a few pest and illness points and are even deer resistant. 

Rising Issues

Scutellaria suffrutescens
Scutellaria suffrutescens.

Whereas Scutellaria herb varieties can flower if grown in partial shade, the most effective situation to advertise ample flowers is to plant them in full solar. As a result of several types of skullcap crops have totally different rising wants, it is very important be sure to choose the appropriate kind to your wants within the backyard. 

Don’t use a spread that’s nicely tailored for wetlands in an arid rock backyard and vice versa. For instance, the mad canine skullcap or blue skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) prefers moist soil and swampy situations, whereas the pink skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens) is native to Mexico and appropriate for arid environments. 


Skullcap crops don’t face severe pest points. The truth is, many gardeners particularly select to make use of skullcap herbs of their landscaping as a result of they aren’t consumed by deer, rabbits, or geese as a result of bitter style and delicate toxicity of the leaves.

Some kinds of skullcap herbs could also be vulnerable to aphids. These are soft-bodied bugs that use their piercing and sucking mouthparts to feed on totally different crops. As a result of many aphids are plant generalists, they may feed on skullcaps. Aphids are generally discovered on the underside facet of leaves. 

Prune off closely contaminated leaves or branches and spray the plant with a robust stream of water to knock off any remaining bugs. As a result of the skullcap herb is a crucial meals supply for pollinators, use chemical sprays as a final resort. Neem oil and insecticidal cleaning soap can be utilized each 7-10 days earlier than dawn and at nightfall to attenuate their influence on pollinating bugs.

Whiteflies is likely to be one other pest that impacts skullcap crops, particularly if the plant is grown inside a greenhouse. Just like the therapy of aphids, a blast of water, neem oil and different horticultural oils, and insecticidal soaps may be utilized to deal with a whiteflies infestation. 

If there is a matter with whiteflies, it’s more likely to be on many alternative crops and never simply on the skullcaps so it’s vital to manage the general pest inhabitants within the backyard or greenhouse. 


Skullcap crops usually are not very vulnerable to ailments and are very hardy. There have been some reported instances of powdery mildew on skullcaps, though that is an occasional difficulty. Powdery mildew is a fungal illness that covers crops in a white coating of powdery spores. Because the illness progresses, it hinders the plant from photosynthesizing and saps the plant of vitamin. 

There are numerous remedies for powdery mildew together with spraying the plant with a sulfur spray, a milk spray, diluted baking soda, and neem oil. You may as well forestall growth of powdery mildew  by ensuring there’s good air circulation across the plant and conserving the leaves dry. Just like whiteflies and aphids, powdery mildew can be extra more likely to happen on skullcap crops in greenhouse settings.

Incessantly Requested Questions

Scutellaria incana
Scutellaria incana.

Q: Is skullcap a perennial?

A: Skullcap herb species are perennials that unfold by rhizomes beneath the soil and runners above the soil.

Q: Is skullcap plant invasive?

A: The skullcap plant is a quick grower, however not invasive. There are totally different skullcap herb varieties which are native to North America together with the American skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), the pink skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens), and lots of others. These crops can produce an abundance of seeds and may self seed to cowl a big space of floor in just some years. 

Q: The place ought to I plant skullcap?

A: Skullcap herbs are a superb plant for floor cowl in sunny areas, rock gardens, and by the sting of ponds. 

Q: When ought to I choose my skullcap?

A: As much as ⅔ of the plant may be harvested in August or when the flowers are in bloom. 

Q: How lengthy does skullcap take to develop?

A: Skullcap crops develop in a short time and may attain a full mound form in only one rising season. Over a number of years, it might shortly unfold and canopy giant floor to supply showy visible curiosity in blue, white, pink, and purple flowers. 

Q: Does skullcap develop again?

A: Sure, skullcap is a perennial plant and can develop again 12 months after 12 months. 

Q: Can I develop skullcap indoors?

A: Skullcap seeds and seedlings are began indoors however then transplanted exterior as soon as the hazard of frost has handed. 

Q: What’s the plant skullcap used for?

A: Skullcap herb and particularly the Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese language skullcap) have been used as conventional Chinese language drugs courting again to hundreds of years. The roots of the plant are used to deal with numerous ailments. There’s ongoing scientific analysis and animal research on its potential medicinal crop alternatives to deal with anxiousness, irritation, and many others. 

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