Globe Thistle SEEDS (ECHINOPS ritro, PURPLE/BLUE) PERENNIAL
Great globe-thistle’s fruits are hairy cylindrical achenes about 7 to 8 mm long. They ripen from September through October. Echinops Sphaerocephalus has hairy, pointed green leaves. They are sticky and grey-green above and white woolly below. The plant enjoys most soil conditions but requires a well drained soil. It prefers full sun or semi-shade. Echinops Sphaerocephalus is frost hardy. Hardiness Zone: 4-8
Rapidly germinating, keep seed in constant moisture (not wet) with temperatures of about +20°C [68°F]. Seeds must be covered thinly. Do not cover very small seeds, but tightly press into the earth. Keep in cooler conditions after germination occurs.
Sow from late winter to spring in a good seed compost just covering the seed with compost and gently firm down compost and seal inside a polythene bag after sowing. Germination usually takes 10-20 days at 20-25C (70-75F).
When the seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow on in cooler conditions.
Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out, after all risk of frost, 60cm (24in) apart in a sunny spot on light well drained soil.
Globe Thistle is a well-behaved perennial for the border, despite its name. Plants form a bushy upright mound of thistly looking grey-green leaves, bearing stems of ball-shaped flowers steel-blue through the summer. Excellent for cutting fresh or drying. Attractive to butterflies. Globe Thistle should be divided every 3 to 4 years, in early spring. Plants may be trimmed to the ground in late fall, or left for winter interest. In areas with wet soil in winter, better success may come from growing these in a raised bed. May need staking.