Kew Pollination Collection Wild Teasel
Tall, spiky stems topped with cones of purple-pink flowers are a magnet for bees and other insects.
A native wildflower, Dipsacus fullonum is commonly found in grassy countryside verges and bordering the margins of fields. As the blooms fade, the seedheads provide a source of food for birds, especially goldfinches. They are also wonderful for adding to dried flower arrangements. For the best effect, allow teasel to self-seed creating naturalistic drifts.
- Sow February to June
- Height: 150cm. Spread: 45cm
- 1 packet contains approximately 100 seeds
- Plant in sight of windows so that you can enjoy watching the birds tease the seeds from the seedheads over winter
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Sow February to June onto the surface of a good, free-draining, peat-free seed compost. Cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place the seed tray in a propagator or seal it inside a polythene bag at a temperature of 15-20C until after germination. Thus may take 1-3 months. Do not exclude light as this helps germination. Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into trays or 7.5cm pots. Gradually acclimatise young plants to cooler conditions before planting them in borders in sun or partial shade. Grow teasel plants in any fertile, moist soil, including heavy clay.
Water regularly until fully established. Dipsacus fullonum will self-seed freely. If seedlings are not wanted, deadhead the stems as the blooms fade. However, this does slightly defeat the object of growing it in the first place.
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.
Handling teasel may cause skin irritation. The stems are sharp and spiny and may scratch you. Wear gardening gloves as a precaution.