Easy-care, long-lasting echinops ritro

I often think it can be nice to have some plants in your garden that don’t require much work. Kind of like a set and forget approach – once it’s planted it will take care of itself.

Echinops ritro, also known as globe thistle, is one of these easy-care plants. It is a hardy plant that tolerates frost and heat, and thrives just about anywhere. And, because it’s a perennial it will stay in your garden a long time. (For beginner gardeners out there, annuals are plants that only last one year or season. Perennials will keep popping up season after season.)

Like the name globe thistle suggests, it looks like a round version of a Scottish thistle in that lovely deep blue/purple colour. However, it’s actually a member of the aster family and not a thistle at all. Which is great, because this means it doesn’t have any spiny prickles.

If you have a perennial garden or want to create a cottage garden look, echinops ritro would make a great addition. It looks nice planted amongst other tall, cottage garden-style plants foxgloves, lupin, hollyhocks and delphinium.

It also looks lovely grown with coneflower Echinacea in a border – their similar appearances really compliment each other.

And, if you still need further convincing about growing echinops ritro, bees love it!

If you’d like to try growing echinops ritro, head to our online shop to order your satisfaction guaranteed seedlings and enjoy the convenience of having them delivered direct to your door. 

Once your seedlings have arrived, it’s time to look for somewhere to plant them. I recommend making the most of their hardiness and growing them in full sun. Plant each seedling approximately 30cm apart.

When they start flowering in early summer, you can expect to enjoy their stunning blooms for around eight weeks. Echinops ritro make good cut flowers and wonderful dried flowers. They can last for years in a good condition.

When they’ve finished flowering I sometimes cut them back to around a third of their height. This gets rid of all the old leaves and encourages the plants to come away stronger the following spring. It will also stop them re-seeding if you do it early enough – when the colour starts to fade in the flower heads. Otherwise it’s fine to take advantage of their easy-care nature and just let them do their thing.

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