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Echinops ritro
Blue hedgehog, Globe thistle
Type/Hardiness Herbaceous, Perennial, Hardy
Flowering period
Height 36-48in/90-120mm
Light preference Sun, part shade
Soil preference
Sowing time/depth ,
A very dependable hardy perennial that is much loved by butterflies and other pollinating insects, Echinops ritro is a lovely addition to the garden for late-summer colour. The spiky, globular flower heads look silvery at first, turning to a dynamic blue-violet as they open. If cut early, they can be cut and dried for winter flower arrangements. It is advisable to remove seed heads before they disintegrate, as the thick, long roots can make unwanted, self-seeded plants difficult to remove.
Sowing and/or growing instructions
Sow individually in 3in pots, 0.25in/5mm deep, either any time from late winter to late spring or from late summer to autumn. Plant out in final positions, 24in/60cm apart when large enough to fend for themselves. Cut hard back in late autumn, having earlier removed seedheads if you do not wish them to self-sow. NOTE: I have dehusked seed in order to retain only plump seeds - hence low seed count, as a large proportion do not reach maturity.
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