Tall, striking, thistle-like plants with serrated leaves and large spiny flower heads. A valuable source of nectar for bees and butterflies, as well as attracting many seed-eating birds to your garden or wild flower meadow.
Sow seeds onto the surface of a good, freedraining, damp, seed compost. Cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place sown container in a propagator or seal container inside a polythene bag at a temperature of 15-20°C (59-68°F) until after germination which usually takes 1-3 months. Do not exclude light as this helps germination.
Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into trays or 7.5cm (3in) pots. Gradually acclimatise young plants to cooler conditions for a few weeks before planting out after all risk of frost, 30-45cm (12-18in) apart.