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|Giant globe thistle|
|The largest echinops, growing to at least 2m tall - and usually more, looks magnificent at the back of the bed or as a specimen plant. It is advisable to remove seed heads before they disintegrate, as the thick, long roots can make unwanted, self-seeded, plants difficult to remove. But don't let that put you off - this plant has a valuable place in the garden, not only for its striking, architectural form but because the succession of pale blue flowers, on globes sometimes over 2.5in/70mm in diameter throughout summer and into autumn, are a magnet for bees, hoverflies and butterflies.
I had to remove the seeds from the shop last year when I discovered that they had failed miserably! This year is another story - butterflies and bees have visited the plants in abundance - but to be sure that the seed supplied is viable I have removed the husks and retained only plump seed.
|Sowing and/or growing instructions|
|Very easy to grow. Sow individually in 3in pots, 0.5in/10mm deep, planting out in final positions, 24in/60cm apart when large enough to fend for themselves. Alternatively, sow thinly, direct, thinning to at least 1 metre apart. These very tall plants may need a little support, especially late in the year. Cut hard back in late autumn, having earlier removed seedheads if you do not wish them to self-sow (highly recommended).|