Globe Thistle

Globe Thistle
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
globe thistle
Credit: Cynthia Haynes
globe thistle

Globe Thistle

The globe thistle resembles a weed until bloom time when the plant explodes with perfect steely blue spheres. They're beautiful in the garden, but these peppy little pop-poms also make pretty cut flowers in fresh arrangements. Snip a few for drying, too, and you can enjoy globe thistle long after the growing season.

genus name
  • Echinops
  • Sun
plant type
  • 1 to 3 feet
  • 1 to 2 feet wide
flower color
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
special features
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10

Color Combinations

Globe thistle offers one of the most beautiful blue colors in the plant world. The spherical flowers start as spiky balls atop long stems. As each steel blue bud opens, the spheres become covered in star-shape, sky-blue blossoms. When they are fully open, these blossoms will bring in all sorts of pollinators. If you are planning on drying globe thistle, the best time to cut them is just before they open.

Even the foliage of globe thistle is unique. While the plant may look like a weed when young, its coarse texture can add a unique look to the garden. The soft green leaves have bright white undersides, creating a bicolor effect.

Globe Thistle Care Must-Knows

This hardy perennial doesn't just tolerate poor soil conditions, it prefers dry soils with little organic matter. In sites that are too rich, globe thistle can struggle. It also needs full sun; any amount of shade will likely result in floppy plants. Too much shade will discourage blooms on the plants, as well as a looser plant habit.

These plants produce a lot of seeds as they finish up their flower show, which means there's a good chance that they will self-seed in your garden. If you're worried about them overtaking, deadhead the spent flowers before they have time to scatter their seeds. However, you will miss out on some lovely late fall interest, as the globes look stunning when kissed with morning frost.

More Varieties of Globe Thistle

Related Items

globe thistle Echinops bannaticus 'Blue Glow'
Credit: Peter Krumhardt

'Blue Glow' Globe Thistle

Echinops bannaticus 'Blue Glow' is a seed-propagated variety that grows 4 feet tall with deep blue globes of flowers in midsummer. Zones 5-9

Globe Thistle
Credit: Peter Krumhardt

Small Globe Thistle

Echinops ritro grows 2-3 feet tall. Its silvery leaves resemble those of a thistle. Spiny globe-shape flowers open slivery blue and mature to bright blue. Cut them just before they fully open to dry them. Zones 3-9

Globe Thistle Companion Plants

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