Echinops ritro

southern globe thistle

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Outstanding Qualities

Southern globe thistle's spherical flowers of saturated indigo are highly attractive to butterflies and bees at the height of summer. The basal leaves on this clump forming perennial are bold and deeply dissected – up to 9" long – with a gray green hue. It grows best in hot, sunny locations where the soil is poor.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: perennial

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 2 ft. 6 in. (0.76 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 to 8

Flower Color: violet

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: drought tolerant or occasional watering

Seasonal Interest: bold foliage topped with 2-inch orbs of indigo flowers in summer

Wildlife Associations: bees, butterflies

Culture Notes
Plant globe thistle in full sun and soil that is very well draining; infertile, sandy, or dry soils are best. Drought tolerant once established or water occasionally.
Geek Notes
A member of the huge aster family and related to other, more aggressive thistles; however, Echinops ritro does not spread about by seed or root, but rather forms a tidy clump. Native to southern Europe from Spain eastward to Turkey, Ukraine, and Belarus.