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Kew Pollination Collection Echinops ritro Seeds


The blue globe thistle, Echinops ritro subsp. ruthenicus is a superb border perennial that is always busy with the hum of bees and other pollinating insects. Spherical heads of electric-blue flowers rise above silvery, thistle-like foliage. Echinops ritro subsp. ruthenicus is hardy and drought-tolerant once established, making it a reliable choice for hot, sunny herbaceous borders. The blooms make superb cut flowers.


  • Sow from January to April
  • Height: 90cm. Spread: 45cm
  • 1 packet contains approximately 20 seeds
  • A magnet for bees and other pollinators
  • Can be dried for everlasting displays 

I aim to pick and pack your order within 24 hours of receipt and you should expect your parcel to arrive within 3–5 working days under normal circumstances. Orders placed on a Friday may not be sent until the following Monday. All delivery charges are calculated and displayed at the checkout.

  • If your order can safely be sent in an envelope or small parcel, it will be sent by Royal Mail via a tracked service for £3.50. This doesn't require a signature but does let you know where your parcel is.
  • Larger orders will be sent either with Royal Mail or FedEx for £4.95. Tracking details will be sent via SMS and/or email, if these contacts are provided.
  • Large or heavy items will be sent for £10 via FedEx or an equivalent courier with tracking provided.
  • For deliveries to Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Channel Islands and international addresses, please drop me a line at letting me know where you are in the world and what you'd like to purchase. I will check the items are allowed to be shipped to your location and get a cost for your approval.

Should you need to return an item, drop me a line at within 14 days of receiving your purchase, providing your name, order number and the reason for your return. I will let you know how to return your item.

Please visit my Delivery & Returns page for more detailed information.

Sow Echinops ritro from January to April on the surface of good, peat-free seed compost. Lightly cover with compost or vermiculite, and gently firm down. Place in a propagator at a temperature of 20-25C, or seal inside a polythene bag until after germination. This usually takes 10-20 days. When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow them on in cooler conditions until large enough to plant outdoors. 

When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise plants to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out in a sunny spot on light, well-drained soil. Echinops ritro does not like to get its feet wet, so you may struggle on cold, heavy clay. 

Feed and water regularly until are fully established. Globe Thistles seed freely and the ornamental seed heads provide further late summer interest if left intact. If seedlings are not required, simply deadhead the faded flowers. Bees adore blue globe thistles. If you don't want to get too close, plant towards the back of a border so that everyone can go about their business unhindered.

For more help and advice on growing plants from seed, read my handy guide.


A great many of our favourite garden plants can be harmful if eaten or handled without gloves. This is rarely a cause for concern but it's always good to know what you are dealing with.

Parts of Echinops ritro are poisonous if ingested. Handling plants may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions so wear gloves as a precaution.


Brand Focus

Thompson & Morgan

With over 160 years of experience, seed merchants Thompson & Morgan know a thing or two about plants and flowers. They are often the first to introduce gardeners to exciting new varieties.

The Kew Pollinators range of seeds has been specially created alongside experts at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to attract and support a wide range of pollinators, including bees, butterflies and beetles. Helping these pollinators to thrive is hugely important for our natural eco-systems as well as the health and productivity of our gardens. The seeds, in their striking packaging inspired by artwork from the Kew archives, will help to create an environment where pollinators thrive, with varieties chosen to help a wide range of different insects.

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Thompson & Morgan

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