How To Grow Globe Thistle (Blue Globe Thistle): Planting, Care Tips ID Chart

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | May 1, 2024

Field of globe thistle plants as a person who learned how to plant globe thistle flowers, how to identify types of globe thistle, their uses, and care tips for easy to grow plants sees the results.

If you are a fan of flower arrangements, you must have come across Globe Thistle at some point.

In addition to boosting the appeal of fresh and dried bouquets, this striking flower can also be a delightful fit for your home garden.

When you learn a few Globe Thistle facts and planting tips, you can confidently take care of these spherical blue flowers and show them off to your family, friends, and community.

To help you turn this learning process into a walk in the park, here is an easy explainer on how to grow Globe Thistle along with some essential planting and care tips.

Globe Thistle Growing Zone Information: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones for Globe Thistle

Before you set out your tools to start growing Globe Thistle, you may want to know which of the 11 regions in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map are the most suitable for these plants.9

Since these zones are categorized according to their average annual minimum winter temperature, looking into this info lets you easily figure out if your local environment offers the best growing conditions for Globe Thistle.

Graphic showing how to grow Globe Thistle through seed, cutting, or seedling with text on when it is best to plant indoors or outdoors.

You might be happy to know that learning about this information is not difficult at all: The recommended USDA Plant Hardiness Zones for Globe Thistle are 2a-8b.

How To Plant Blue Globe Thistle (Echinops): Best Growing Conditions for Globe Thistle

Apart from learning about the recommended USDA Hardiness Zone for Echinops ritro, you may also want to learn more about the following planting tips for Globe Thistle.

How To Start Growing a Globe Thistle From a Seed, Cutting, or Seedling

You can propagate Globe Thistle plants a variety of ways that range from planting a seed to cultivating a seedling.

  • Seed

In order to grow your Globe Thistle from seeds, you need to source the seeds either from a fresh flower that you dry out or seed packages that you buy from a store. But no matter the method you choose, you might want to plant these seeds by mid-spring if you are growing them outdoors.

This is when to plant Globe Thistle for the best yield for outdoor planting.10 If you plan to grow Globe Thistle indoors, you can also plant them as late as 8 weeks before fall frost.11

In this case, you would need to keep the seeds in a refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.12 After that, you can plant them in small pots to germinate for approximately 1 week.

Afterwards, you can plant them outside by spring time.

  • Cutting

To grow your Globe Thistle from a cutting, you need to make these cuttings in spring. Make sure that the cutting size is 2-3 inches before you plant them during the same season.10

You can also propagate Globe Thistle by division.12 But in order to do that, you need to make sure that the plant is at least 3 years old.

You should go through with the division process in spring as well.

  • Seedling

If you happen to get your hands on Globe Thistle seedlings, you need to make a point of planting them outdoors by spring. Afterwards, you should remember to water them daily for at least two weeks.12

How Often Should You Water Globe Thistle?

You might be happy to know that the watering needs for Globe Thistle plants are quite straightforward. While you may want to do weekly watering for new Globe Thistle plants for at least a month, established Echinops ritro need no watering until they seem dry.13

This makes Globe Thistle a low maintenance plant right off the bat.

What Is the Average Globe Thistle Growth Rate?

In case you are wondering how long it takes to grow Globe Thistle, you might be delighted to know that the plant has a fast growth rate. If you plant your Globe Thistle by May, you can expect to see the stunning spherical blooms by mid-summer or a bit later.13

How Much Space Should You Leave Between Globe Thistle Plants?

While learning how far apart to plant Globe Thistle, you can simply note down the golden rule of putting at least 2 feet of space between these plants.

Globe Thistle flowers with their unique spherical shape and blue color, surrounded by various green plants and leaves.

(Image: MabelAmber22)

You can also keep this tip fresh in your mind by associating it with the average width of Globe Thistle that happens to be 2 feet as well.1

How Much Sun Does Blue Globe Thistle Need?

If you are wondering how much sunlight does Globe Thistle need each day, the answer is not hard to find. Similar to many other perennial plants that live for several growing seasons,14 Globe Thistle thrives under full sunlight for at least 6 hours a day.12

How To Stop Globe Thistle Disease

You will be relieved to hear that Globe Thistle disease prevention is not a massive challenge. It’s because the plant is quite sturdy by itself and stands strong against many threats.

With that being said, your Globe Thistle may still fall prey to crown rot.15 You can prevent this disease by ensuring proper drainage for your Globe Thistle or using fungicides.

Does Globe Thistle Attract Pests?

While you can count on Globe Thistle to keep many pests at bay, it can still attract some unwanted guests. Two of the most common pests of the Globe Thistle include aphids and four-lined plant bugs.13

A cluster of Globe Thistle flowers with purple blooms against a backdrop of a stone wall with green foliage.

(Image: Nikolett Emmert (niki_emmert)23)

You can use natural pest control for Globe Thistle to get rid of aphids. But for four-lined plant bugs, you may need special products such as pesticides or insecticide soap.16

If money is not an issue, you can also look into exterminator prices to hire a professional.

What Are Some Companion Plants For Growing Globe Thistle?

You can take inspiration from the following plants that are thought to be great companions to Globe Thistle.17

If you are looking for easy-growing plants that do not ask much from you, blue Globe Thistle might be the perfect fit for you.

Even when you offer little care and minimal maintenance to Globe Thistle, this gorgeous plant blooms year after year and lives on for at least a decade.

Globe Thistle

(Echinops ritro)

Globe Thistle image in an oval frame on a green background.
  • Characteristics: Has a spherical shape and striking color
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Genus: Echinops
  • Leaf: Gray/silver/green; lobed; spiny; elliptical
  • Seed: Oblong
  • Blossoms: Blue; star-shaped; arranged to appear like a sphere
  • Native Habitat: Europe, East-Central Asia, Tropical Africa
  • Height: 2-4 feet
  • Canopy: 2-2.6 feet
  • Type: Perennial
  • Native Growing Zone: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 2-8

Image Credit: Grey Geezer20

How To Identify Globe Thistle

You can identify Globe Thistle by its distinct spherical blossoms that are typically 2 inches in size and have a striking steel-blue shade to them. You can also remember that every round blossom comprises several star-shaped flowers.

Graphics showing how to identify Globe Thistle, featuring images of spherical blue Globe Thistle flower, spiky Globe Thistle seed head, and jagged green Globe Thistle leaves.

You may further tell the Globe Thistle plant apart from others by its spiny and lobed leaves, as well as its 2-4 feet of height and 2-2.6 feet of width.1

Globe Thistle Flower

You can identify the Globe Thistle flower by its spherical shape and steel-blue color that comes from a formation of several tiny flowers. The flower is 1-3 inches in diameter.1

Globe Thistle Leaves

You can find it easy to tell Globe Thistle leaves apart from other plants due to their lobed, elliptical, and spiny appearance. You can also remember that the leaves of Globe Thistle are gray, silver, or green in color and leather-like in their texture.

These leaves are about 6-8 inches long and 1-3 inches wide.1

Globe Thistle Seeds

You might be amused by how tiny thistle seeds are, but that doesn’t make them any less effective at propagation. These oblong seeds shed from the flowers themselves.

You can find them at many local garden centers or online stores.

Globe Thistle Plants (Echinops ritro): What Makes Them So Special?

You might know Globe Thistle as a 1-2 inch spherical blue flower that looks equally amazing in its fresh and dried form. In addition to flower arrangements for almost every occasion, you can find Globe Thistle across various florists and garden centers where it blooms from the ground.

But if you want to grow your own blue thistles, you may want to look into some Globe Thistle facts first.

For starters, you may quickly want to learn that the spherical head of the Globe Thistle is not a single flower but a formation of various star-shaped flowers.2 When these flowers bloom together in a dome-like shape, it lets you set your eyes on the dramatic look of these blossoms.

You may also be happy to know that Echinops ritro is a perennial plant that can live for several years in your backyard garden but without asking for any special soil.3 But you might want to remember that unlike excotic thistles that can harm your garden,4 Globe Thistles only add value to it even if they are great at self-propagating through their seeds.

With that, you may also want to remember that Globe Thistle blooms in mid-summer to the start of fall. This gives you about 2 months to enjoy these flowers before they go out of season.5

A close-up of a vibrant purple Globe Thistle flower with intricate spiky petals against a softly blurred background.

(Image: NickyPe (Nicky ❤️🌿🐞🌿❤️)21)

If you like to grow flowers that have encouraging lessons of life behind them, you might be happy to know more about Globe Thistle symbolism. Since Globe Thistles are able to resist drought and still stand strong in all their glory, you may not be surprised to learn that they represent resilience, bravery, protection, and durability.6, 7, 8

This makes Globe Thistle more than a pretty flower to add to your garden. Besides the attractive appearance of Globe Thistle blossoms, you may also take a liking to the plant’s spiny and lobed leaves that look like accent pieces at first glance.

You may find these leaves in colors ranging from silver to green, which enhances the overall look of the flowers that stand atop them. If you want to contribute to the beauty of your garden, you may also like the fact that Globe Thistle is known for attracting different types of bees and butterflies to it.

After going through these Globe Thistle facts, you can be more confident in learning about how to plant Globe Thistle, how to best care for it, and how to identify it among a sea of other flowers.

Once you learn these handy facts about Globe Thistle and its planting needs, you can feel even more confident in bringing this beauty home and enjoy its pretty flowers for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Globe Thistle Plant

What Are the Growing Zones for Globe Thistle (Where To Grow Echinops)?

If you are wondering about different growing zones for Globe Thistle: where to grow Echinops ritro, you can find the answer in the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. This classifies Hardiness Zones 2-8 as being the most suitable for Globe Thistle.

What Is Veitch's Blue Globe Thistle?

Veitch’s Blue Globe Thistle is a cultivar of Globe Thistle that lets you grow Globe Thistles with an enhanced shade of blue and a smaller plant height of about 3 feet.18,19

What Is Thistle Color?

The thistle color is a light shade of purple. If you are a fan of pale colors, you might like to incorporate it into your fashion or home decor.

Is Globe Thistle a Perennial Flower?

You can be confident in saying that the Globe Thistle is a perennial flower.1 After successful planting, it can live out several years and bear flowers every blooming season.

When Does Globe Thistle Bloom?

The Globe Thistle blooms from mid-summer to the start of fall.13

What Are the Flowers That Look Like Thistles Called?

Since you may associate thistles with a spiny appearance and purple shade, you may have no trouble agreeing that the basketflower stands out to be one the most common flowers that look like thistles.


1N.C. Cooperative Extension. (2024). Echinops ritro. North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

2Wikipedia. (2023, October 14). Echinops. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

3University of Kentucky. (2024). Kentucky Garden Flowers. KY Garden Flowers – Echinacea to Euphorbia. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

4Montana State University. (2020, February). How to Tell the Difference Between Exotic and Native Thistles. MSU Extension Invasive Plants | Montana State University. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

5Grant, B. L. (2023, January 7). Globe Thistle Care: How To Grow Globe Thistle Plants. Gardening Know How. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

6Rhys, D. (2023, December 29). Thistle Flower – Symbolism and Meaning. Symbol Sage. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

7FiftyFlowers. (2024). Globe Thistle Ecnichops Wholesale. FiftyFlowers. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

8Knopp, P. (2023, September 30). 17 Extraordinary Facts About Globe Thistle. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

9United States Department of Agriculture. (2012). Plant Hardiness Zones. USDA Plant Hardiness Zones. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

10Cornell University. (2006). Growing Guide: Globe Thistle. Cornell University Home Gardening. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

11John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds. (2023). Globe Thistle. John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

12McCollom, H. (2023, May 31). How to Plant and Grow Globe Thistle. Better Homes & Garden. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

13McIntosh, J. (2022, September 8). How to Grow and Care for Globe Thistle. The Spruce. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

14University of Idaho. (2024). Perennials. University of Idaho Extension. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

15Hudelson, B; Jull, L. (2012, August 13). Root and Crown Rots. Wisconsin Horticulture. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

16Hahn, J; Wold-Burkness, S. (2019). Fourlined plant bugs. UMN Extension. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <> (2024). Echinops (Globe Thistle). Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

18Wixted, K. (2019, October 18). The Cultivar Question. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

19American Meadows. (2024). Veitch’s Blue Echinops. American Meadows. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

20256-Parc Cap de Creus Photo by Grey Geezer. (2014, June 17) / CC0 1.0 DEED | CC0 1.0 Universal. Cropped and remixed with text, shape, and background elements. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

21Echinops, Globe thistle, Flower Photo by NickyPe (Nicky ❤️🌿🐞🌿❤️). (2021, August 11) / Pixabay Content License. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 16, 2024, from <>

22Globe thistle, Echinops, Beautiful flowers Photo by MabelAmber. (2020, August 6) / Pixabay Content License. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 16, 2024, from <>

23Echinops, Flower background, Globe thistles Photo by Nikolett Emmert (niki_emmert). (2022, June 18) / Pixabay Content License. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved January 16, 2024, from <>