Echinops ritro or 'Globe Thistle' is a hardy perennial and a non demanding plant for the border. This robust, upright herbaceous perennial has jaggedy-divided, prickly dark green leaves which are whitish beneath.
In late summer through to autumn, the globular heads of round, violet-blue flower heads appear, each on silvery, branched leafy stems. The handsome spherical buds open into flower from the top down.
The flowers have a metallic lustre and may be cut and dried for winter decoration. The plants are suitable for the back of the herbaceous border and will attract many bees and butterflies into the garden.
One of my favourites for the back row, I love the prickly blue balls in July - they are actually softer than they look. It’s an unusual colour and great structure, so a great conversation piece and an excellent dried flower for use in arrangements. It also seems to be quite drought tolerant.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
Echinops ritro has been awarded the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM), for plants of outstanding excellence.
- Certified Organic Seed.
This seed has been organically produced, verified and certified. It has been harvested from plants that have themselves been raised organically, without the use of artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers.
Sowing: Sow in late winter/late spring or late summer/autumn.
Sow seed 2.5cm (1in) apart in a peaty mix compost. If starting seed in a seed-tray, choose one with really deep cells. The seedlings need a lot of root room to get started. “Just cover” the seeds with 2mm (1/16in) compost. The seed will germinate in less than two weeks
When seedlings have their first pair of true leaves and are large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots.
For autumn sown seedlings, pot on and grow for another year before planting outside permanently.
They are best planted in poor, well-drained soil in full sun but will tolerate most soils in full sun and can tolerate partial shade
Cut back the flowering stems as soon as the first lot of flowers fade to encourage a second flush of blooms in early autumn. Lift and divide congested colonies in autumn or spring.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Arranging, Borders and Beds, Gravel Garden, Low Maintenance or Wildlife Gardens
Echinops associates well with other tall striking late summer plants such as cardoon and echinacea or tall miscanthus grasses.
Native to Southern Europe, Echinops was introduced to England in 1570 and by the last half of the 1800's the Globe thistle had became a popular Victorian flower.
Echinops is taken from the Greek echinos, meaning a "like a hedgehog" (or sea-urchin) describing the circular spiny thistles, and the word opsis which means “resembling”.
The species name "ritro" means “of gardens”
The common name of Globe Flower simply refers to the globe shaped flowers. It is often called the Globe Thistle, referring to the spiky balls.
There are approximately one hundred and twenty species of 'thistles' within the Asteraceae, or the daisy family from where Echinops hails, although the term thistle is usually taken to mean exactly those plants in the tribe Cynareae especially the genera Carduus, Cirsium, and Onopordum. (Carduus is the Latin term for a thistle - hence cardoon)
Thistle are characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins. Prickles often occur all over the plant, on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation that protects the plant against herbivorous animals, discouraging them from feeding on the plant.
In the language of flowers, the thistle (like the burr) is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth, for the wounding or provocation of a thistle yields punishment
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
- Additional Information
Average Seed Count 20 Organic Seeds Family Asteraceae Genus Echinops Species ritro Common Name Globe Thistle Other Common Names Blue Hedgehog , Steel Globe Thistle Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Blue/Glaucous in Summer. Foliage Dark Green Height 90 to 120cm (36 to 48in) Spread 50cm (20in) Position Full Sun or Partial Shade. Aspect East, West or South facing. Exposed.