E-Series Plants, Part I: Echinops

Butterfly on echinops in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Butterfly on echinops (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

When we hear the term E-Series, most of us think of the model of Mercedes, known to be a very luxurious and reliable automobile.  I don’t own a Mercedes (I drive a plush Pontiac), but I do grow several noteworthy, stalwart “E-Series” plants, otherwise known as my favorite plants that start with the letter E.

These prized “E-Series” plants are prolific bloomers in the summer, most starting in July and continuing through September with moderate rainfall and some minor pruning. They thrive in the hot, dry summer climate with average soil conditions.  All are long lived perennials; having flourished in my garden for almost twenty years.

A Hummingbird visits the globe thistle in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

A Hummingbird visits the globe thistle (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

My first pick of the E-Series is Echinops ritro, a rather burly, prickly plant with multiple round heads that pop up like periscopes looking over the terrain.  There is something magical about orbs in the garden.  It’s almost like Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, was flying by and with a touch of her wand, sprinkled iridescent bubbles to float above your kingdom.

Intriguing blue spheres add delight and whimsy while attracting all sorts of wildlife; from bees and butterflies to hummingbirds. In zones 4 – 8, echinops will grow to 4’ tall by 3’ wide in a happy, sun filled environment.  Commonly known as globe thistle, it has thistle-like leaves on sturdy stems that will stand until you cut them down.  Its golf ball sized orbs will start to brown later in the season and I usually cut them back at that time.  I haven’t had any problem with invasions of little echinops, but avoiding an abundance of seed dropping probably isn’t a bad idea.

Bees on Echinops in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer http://agardenforall.com

Bees on echinops (photo credit: Kathy Diemer

Echinops is a long lived, easy to grow standout perennial that will earn its place in your garden as well as your heart ♥

 

 

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