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Herbaceous Perennial

Cirsium heterophyllum

melancholy thistle

C. heterophyllum is a clump-forming, spreading perennial up to 1.2m tall. The lance-shaped, green leaves have softly-spiny edges and white-felted undersides. In summer, purple-pink spherical flower heads 3-5cm across are borne on erect, woolly-textured stems

Synonyms
Cirsium helenioides
Carduus heterophyllus
see moreCarduus ambiguus
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Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green White Green
Summer Pink Purple Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

North–facing or East–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Asteraceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Columnar upright
Genus

Cirsium may be biennials or perennials with spiny leaves and typical thistle-type flower-heads

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe, Russia

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How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in a moist but well-drained soil in full sun; can tolerate some dryness and partial shade

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in pots in a cold frame in spring or by division in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Cut flowers
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

If self-seeding is a problem then cut back hard after flowering

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally trouble free but powdery mildews may be a problem

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