Plantain prefers partial shade and can grow in a variety of soils, from rocky to sandy. Part of the Plantaginaceae family, it can be identified by its broad leaves that are used in herbal preparations and in cooking. Younger fresh leaves are preferable for food use, but teas can be made from fresh or dried material.
_ Plantago major_ grows low to the ground in a rosette cluster of oval-shaped, veiny leaves. It blooms a single spike of tiny compact, cream-colored flowers from spring through fall. The plant itself grows to a height of no more than five inches at maturity.
Plantain seeds are best grown directly outside by sowing in early to mid-spring after the last frost has passed. Seeds should be scattered directly over prepared soil. Germination normally takes seven to fourteen days. Leaves can be harvested for use 30 days after the first plants sprout from the soil.