Onopordum- Cotton Thistle

Imposing biennials, distinctly grey in appearance.

Situation:

As specimen plants but, because of their useful grey colour, also in borders. Full sun is essential for vigorous growth.

Soil:

The cotton thistle will grow in pure sand, but will then remain smaller. In over-rich soil the grey colour will be less attractive.

Propagation:

Sow in early summer, in a shady seed-bed.

Prick out once and transfer to their permanent position in early autumn. The plants will also seed themselves.

Onopordum bracteatum syn Onopordum arabicum: Height to 2.5 m, elliptical leaves, irregularly incised, spiny, short-stalked or sessile; they are entirely covered in grey felt; the stems are winged and thorny. Purple flower-heads. To prevent the plants sowing themselves too widely, it is advisable to remove the flowers.

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