Globe Thistle 101: Everything You Need to Know for Thriving Plants


Globe Thistle

What is a globe thistle?

Table of Contents

Globe Thistle is an old-fashioned plant that is easy to grow and hardy. The flowers are beautiful and will attract butterflies to your garden. We can plant this flower in a sunny spot or under trees, and it looks excellent growing next to other tall flowers like lupine or delphinium.

The globe thistle, Echinops ritro, is a perennial bulb and one of the showiest of the tall bearded iris family. It is native to the Mediterranean region and grows well in USDA zones 4 to 9.

Globe Thistle has yellow flowers with purple centers and blue-green leaves about 6 inches long by 1 inch wide.

You can start the plant by using dormant roots or growing seedlings indoors until they are about 6 inches tall for transplantation. Add lots of nitrogen to well-drained, nutrient-rich soil for indoor starting to promote growth before winter.

Where to Plant?

  • Plant in full sun. Globe thistle needs a lot of sunlight, so plant it in an area with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Plant in well-drained soil. Growing globe thistles requires well-draining soil rich in organic matter such as compost or manure (if using manure, check nitrogen levels). This soil should either be sandy loam or clay.
  • Plant where you can give the plant plenty of water! Globe thistle is drought-tolerant but not drought-resistant–you’ll get better results if you give it regular watering during dry spells or periods when rainfall is low.
  • Consider adding irrigation if you don’t get enough rain when temperatures exceed 80F (27C).
  • Choose an area near some source like a spigot; this way, all you need do is turn on some taps every few days instead of having someone come out multiple times per week so that they can fill up buckets with water!

Planting Tips

  • Plant in spring or fall. Globe thistle is a hardy perennial that grows well in USDA zones 5-8, but you can plant it in any climate as long as you provide it with adequate water and sunlight.
  • Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots of your globe thistle plant. Add some compost to the bottom of the hole before planting, then set your plant in place and backfill it with dirt around its base. Water well after planting, keeping the soil moist until established (usually within two weeks).

Care Tips

The globe thistle is a hardy plant that can be grown in full sun to partial shade. It also does well in containers, so it’s a good choice for apartment dwellers who want to bring some nature indoors.

Globe thistle doesn’t need much maintenance, but you should still water your globe thistle regularly and keep it moist during the growing season (spring through fall). 

Over-watering is one of the most common mistakes made by new growers! Make sure not to over-fertilize either–you’ll end up with lots of leaves instead of flowers if you do so!

When planting your globe thistle outdoors and facing limited space, consider planting them near hostas or wildflowers. They conceal the thistle’s spiny stems as they grow taller than other foliage.

Pests and Problems

The most common problem is aphids. These tiny, soft-bodied insects suck the juices from plants and can cause severe damage to plants. Aphids also spread plant diseases such as aster yellows and peach leaf curls.

To control aphids:

  • Remove the infested foliage by hand or with a garden hose so water washes them off the plant.
  • Spray the entire plant with an insecticidal soap solution (available at garden centers); follow label instructions carefully because too much soap can harm your globe thistle!


If you have a globe thistle plant and want to grow more, propagation produces new plants from seeds or cuttings. Propagation of globe thistle can be achieved through either method.

Seeds are best planted in spring or fall, but they can also be planted all year round. Soil should be well drained and fertile with plenty of organic matter added before planting time.

Seeds are sown directly into the ground at least 1/2 inch deep; germination will occur within two weeks if conditions are right (temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit).

Seeds may also be started indoors six weeks before transplanting outdoors when soil temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night (or earlier for warm climates).

Once seedlings appear above ground level, they should be thinned out so that only one plant per pot remains; this ensures adequate space for each plant and better overall growth rates over time due to increased accessioning possibilities later on down the road!


The most common type of globe thistle is Echinops ritro, which has purple-pink flowers. Two cultivars with white flowers are Echinops ritro ‘Albus’ and Echinops ritro ‘Rubriflorus.’

Echinops monstrous is a rare variety that grows up to 4 feet tall with blue-green leaves and white or pink flowers that bloom in June or July.

Companion Plants

Globe Thistle is a good companion plant for other flowers and plants. You can plant it in the same area or even alongside plants you want to protect from pests.

Globe Thistle can also be used as an ornamental plant in your garden because of its beautiful purple flowers that bloom in summer.

Garden Plans

Planting in a Garden

Globe thistle is a perennial plant, which means it will grow year after year. If you want to grow globe thistle from seed, sow the seed directly into your garden area after the danger of frost has passed.

Space the plants about 12 inches apart and water generously when first planted. During hot weather (which may be as early as July), water every two weeks until fall rains arrive.

To encourage growth and flower production, fertilize with an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion or compost tea once every two weeks from midsummer through early fall.

You can also apply lime at this time if your soil pH is too low for optimal growth; however, most soils have enough calcium content already, so this should not be necessary unless otherwise advised by your local extension agent or nurseryman.

The Globe Thistle is a pretty flower that will reward your efforts with excellent results.

Globe Thistle is a perennial plant that grows from 1 to 3 feet tall and has bright purple flowers in the summer. It blooms from June through August, producing large clusters of tiny flowers on stems rising above the foliage.

The leaves are deeply lobed with coarse teeth along their margins, giving them an almost spiked appearance when mature. The species name ‘aurea’ refers to this golden coloration found on many parts of its body, including its petals, stems, and leaves.


 Globe Thistle is a remarkable addition to any garden, with its vibrant blooms and resilient nature. By following the proper planting and growing techniques, gardeners can create a visually striking space that gratifies the senses and supports local biodiversity.

As we’ve explored throughout this guide, success with Globe Thistle is attainable through diligent care, understanding its growth patterns, and creating an optimal environment. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting, embracing the captivating charm of Globe Thistle can be a profitable venture.

May your garden flourish with the beauty and grace that this stunning plant has to offer.