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
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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.