Type of Flower
Echinops is a genus of about 120 species of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, commonly known as globe thistles. They have spiny foliage and produce blue or white spherical flower heads. They are native to Europe east to central Asia and south to the mountains of tropical Africa.
Echinops was introduced to England in 1570 and by the last half of the 1800's the Globe thistle had became a popular Victorian flower.
Echinops is taken from the Greek echinos, meaning a "like a hedgehog" (or sea-urchin) describing the circular spiny thistles.
The common name of Globe Flower simply refers to the globe shaped flowers. It is often called the Globe Thistle, referring to the spiky balls.
In late summer through to autumn, the globular heads of round, violet-blue flower heads appear, each on silvery, branched leafy stems. The handsome spherical buds open into flower from the top down. The flowers have a metallic lustre and may be cut and dried for winter decoration. The plants are suitable for the back of the herbaceous border and will attract many bees and butterflies into the garden.
Sow in late winter/late spring or late summer/autumn. Sow seed 2.5cm (1in) apart in a peaty mix compost. If starting seed in a seed-tray, choose one with really deep cells. The seedlings need a lot of root room to get started. “Just cover” the seeds with 2mm (1/16in) compost. The seed will germinate in less than two weeks
When seedlings have their first pair of true leaves and are large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots. For autumn sown seedlings, pot on and grow for another year before planting outside permanently. They are best planted in poor, well-drained soil in full sun but will tolerate most soils in full sun and can tolerate partial shade.
Cut back the flowering stems as soon as the first lot of flowers fade to encourage a second flush of blooms in early autumn. Lift and divide congested colonies in autumn or spring. Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Arranging, Borders and Beds, Gravel Garden, Low Maintenance or Wildlife Gardens Echinops associates well with other tall striking late summer plants such as cardoon and echinacea or tall miscanthus grasses.