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Echinops ritro

Globe thistle

Reader rating

From 13 ratings

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial

Flower colour



Attractive seed-heads, Flowers



Skill level


photo by Howard Rice, copyright GAP Photos (56336)

Plant details

The spiky leaves and bristly metallic blue flowers of this plant make it a great architectural plant for the back of a summer border. The spiny, cobwebbed leaves provide interest from spring until the blooms appear in late summer. It associates well with other tall striking late summer plants such as cardoon and echinacea or tall miscanthus grasses in an island bed. It has been given an Award of Garden Merit (AGM), which is for plants of outstanding excellence.

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Echinops

Species: ritro

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Flower colour: Blue

Foliage colour: Dark green

Feature: Attractive seed-heads, Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Dry, Moist, Sandy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 120cm

Spread: 45cm

Time to plant seeds: April to May

Time to divide plants: September to May

Reader reviews


Looks good


Very attractive plant !

This plant has been most successful in our garden as an attractant to Bees, and Insect life, an attractive plant also, with along flowering period.


i'm can't find Aquilia (Barlow Black) in the plants section, where can i find it please.


Aquiliga (Barlow Black) is the botanical name, you are searching in the common name section, try Grannys Bonnet? think that is what it is known as, hope this helps


we have this in our garden we absolutely love it! and now started planting more thistles, its definately a show stopper! would recommend it for insect lovers and butterflys i give it 5*****


I agree that this plant is fantastic for attracting wildlife and for providing the bees with plenty of pollen. However, I would have to take issue with the height that the plants reach as 1.2m is somewhat conservative - I have some flowers towering 6.5ft tall!
I would like to ask when the best time is to collect seeds from these plants for sowing later (although it does seem to self seed prolifically on its own!)

kathleen 2

I love these beautiful blue plants


Iwas given a few clumps of Echinops ritro 15 years ago by a vicars wife. I noticed them in he garden and remarked how beautiful I thought they were. When I next past her house she had a big bag of them waiting for me. They are loved by the bees and the butterflies. And look loof outstanding up the top of the garden. I would not be without them now.


But mine always grow well over 6ft tall. My husband is 6ft 2in. And they are taller than he is.

Tess Fitzgerald

I planted a Blue Globe Thistle this year in a pot. It was very slow in it's growth, I had one flower head the size of a marble and the leaves, have all been eaten. I thought planting it in a pot, would protect it. I planted the thistle in compost, bought from a garden center. Can you advise me please. I would really like to have these plants in the garden, as they are attractive.

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