How to Grow Cirsium Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Plume Thistle, Scotch Thistle, and other Thistles

Thistles are thought of as weeds by many people.

However with them being the symbol of Scotland many people away from home with thoughts of the highlands like to grow them.

Despite them being spiky in nature Cirsium have pretty heads of purple that can be dried.

Cirsium arvense
Cirsium arvense – Field Thistle.

Cirsium vulgare
Cirsium vulgare, both photographs by Matt Lavin.

They make great plants for a wild garden.

Cirsium also known as the Scotch thistle can reach a metre in height.

Cirsium Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Plume Thistle. Thistle: Pasture; Spear; Scotch; Clustered; Ashland; Slough; Peregrine; Field; Meadow; Fountain; Summer; Swamp.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial, or biennial that is usually grown as a hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 30 to 80 inches (50 to 200 cm).
Native: Asia, Europe, North Africa, North America.

Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10.
Flowers: Summer and early autumn.
Flower Details: Purple, pink, yellow, cream, white. Feathered hairs.
Foliage: Prickly leaves, deeply lobed.

Sow Outdoors: 1/8 inch (3mm). Following last frost or autumn. Spacing 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm).
Sow Indoors: Germination time: two to three weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Two weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Moist soil.
Family: Asteraceae / Compositae
Miscellaneous: Some species have culinary use.

How to grow Scotch thistle - Cirsium

The seeds of scotch thistles can be sown in either autumn or after the last frost of spring. They should be sown at a depth of 3 mm (1/8th inch).

If started to be grown indoors first, then Cirsium takes about two to three weeks to germinate at a temperature of 21 to 24 degrees Centigrade (70 to 75°F).

The seedlings should be planted out in early spring, when it is still possible to get a frost with a spacing of about 60 cm (2 feet).

They can grow in either partly shaded or sunny parts of the garden that has good drainage.

Scotch Thistle pretty much cares for itself.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Cirsium plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ Asteraceae growing guides: How to grow Wormwood and Xanthium strumarium plants.