Perennial Overview: Globe Thistle

globe-thistle

Discover how to grow Globe Thistle with instructions on starting seed, transplanting, site selection, care and maintenance, water and fertilization requirements, and pests and diseases.

Globe Thistle Stats at a Glance

Botanical Name: Echinops ritro

Height: 2-4 feet

Soil Conditions:  Well-drained

Sun: Full sun

Soil pH Conditions: 5.8-6.8

Planting Instructions

Can I Start Globe Thistle from Seed?

Globe thistle can be propagated from seed, division, or root cuttings.

 

Division. Globe thistle should not be divided until offsets are clearly visible around the base of the plant, which generally appear after three years of growth.  Divide in the spring prior to the growing season.

 

Root cuttings.  Take 2-3” root cuttings each year in the spring.

 

Seed.  Globe thistle can be sown directly into the garden in mid spring.  Sow a few seeds in groupings set two feet apart.  Lightly tamp them into the soil to ensure contact but do not bury them as the seed needs light to germinate.  Thin to the strongest plant.

 

To start indoors, fill individual peat pots with a fertile commercial soil starter and moisten.  Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil. Press them lightly into the soil to ensure contact with growing medium. Place in a room with a constant temperature of 65-70°F.  Cover with clear plastic wrap to maintain the soil moisture and temperature.  Keep the soil moist.  When seedlings appear, remove the plastic wrap and move to a sunny location.

 

When to Start Seeds: >6-8 weeks prior to planting
Time to Germination: 14-21 days
Light/Darkness Requirements: Light
Optimal Temp. for Germination: 65-70°F

 

 

When Do I Plant Globe Thistle?

Globe Thistle is cold sensitive and should not be planted until after the last frost and the soil has reached at least 68°F.  They will germinate much more quickly in warmer soil.  You can hasten the warming of the soil with black plastic mulch.

Soil Temperature: 68°F

 

Where Do I Plant Globe Thistle?

Globe thistle tolerates droughty conditions well making this perennial suitable for hot dry climates.

Globe thistle plants perform best in nearly any good garden soil that receives full sun and is well drained. Incorporating several inches of organic matter into the soil when preparing the bed will improve growth and development.

Soil Type: Well-drained
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Soil pH: 5.8-6.8

 

How Far Apart Do I Plant Globe Thistle?

Set plants 18-24” apart.

Globe Thistle Plant Care and Maintenance

Once established, most perennials require very little routine care and maintenance.

How Often Should I Water Globe Thistle?

For many perennials, average rainfall is sufficient to keep the plants healthy.  Supplementation may be necessary in droughty conditions.

Globe thistle is extraordinarily drought tolerant, but maintaining a consistent soil moisture level will result in more prolific blooming.

Water the soil around the plant. Overhead watering will encourage disease.  Drip irrigation is best.

Mulch around the plant will help to lock in moisture.

 

Should I Fertilize Globe Thistle?

Most perennials do not require a specific fertilization regiment.  Fertilizing decisions should be based on a soil test.  If a soil test cannot be obtained and you feel that your perennial bed would benefit from fertilization, keep it light.  Work in a small amount of a low nitrogen fertilizer, such as 5-10-5 around the plants in the early spring.

Fertilize the soil around the plant at least 6” from the plant base. Irrigate into the soil.

 

Additional Care Instructions

Deadhead spent flowers to discourage self-seeding and to encourage continual blooming.

Cut back after flowering to encourage a second blooming.

Leave plant foliage intact for the winter. Cut back in the spring.

Globe Thistle Diseases

The most common diseases associated with this plant include powdery mildew.

Globe Thistle Pests

The most common pests associated with this plant include aphids, celery leaftier, fourlined plant bug.

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