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Onopordum acanthium

Scotch thistle

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Key information

Plant type


Flower colour






Skill level


photo by S & O, copyright GAP Photos (29658)

Plant details

The tall statuesque stems of this native Scotch thistle are clad in silvery spiny foliage and topped with a huge pink thistle. It is best planted at the back of a border as it can reach around 3m (10ft). Although it is a biennial, it self-seeds freely and so plants appear each year. Plant in any fertile, well-drained, slightly acidic soil in full sun. This plant is perfect for a sunny gravel or wildlife garden.

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Onopordum

Species: acanthium

Plant type: Biennial

Flower colour: Purple

Foliage colour: Silver

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Acidic

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 300cm

Spread: 100cm

Time to plant seeds: September to May

Flowering period: July to September

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