The year of the thistle – update

At the beginning the year I declared 2016 as The Year of the Thistle, including in this category besides the ‘true thistles’ (Cirsium, Carduus and Onopordum), other genera that don’t have spiny leaves/or are commonly called thistles (Jurinea, Centaurea, Carthamus, Carlina, Rhaponticum, Echinops…).
I wasn’t joking. Some of the new tried out species are doing fine and are already planted out – Berkheya, Jurinea sordida, Carlina acaulis. Probably Centaurea triumfettii would have also flowered if not transplanted too late.

But, another one, a true thistle is flowering! Cirsium canum, in its second year from seeds, proves out to be a most wonderful plant. Everything, from the silvery, bold foliage to the neat, globular flower buds and the soft flower heads continuously foraged by some pollinator – it’s just perfect!

Cirsium canum foliage

Cirsium canum – An architectural thistle with silver-green foliage and purple flowers from late summer to fall; it will remain in a clump and therefore it can be safely grown in the garden for the delight of the pollinators :)

I wish I had more seedlings! A full sun position suits it very well. In the wild habitat it grows in somehow moist meadows and I think it would like a bit more moisture than it has, but it has fared well so far with very little watering.

Cirsium canum flower head

Cirsium canum flower head

There are so many more such species to try…

4 replies
    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      :) Wait till you see the Jurinea flowering – hopefully next year! There are also quite a few Cirsium spp. from North America that are not invasive and in fact on the list of endangered species.

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