Echinops sphaerocephalus is a genus that includes about ten perennial, vivid plants, originating in Europe and Asia. The specimens belonging to this genus form dense erect tufts, with large leaves gathered in basal rosettes, dark green or gray-green, 20-30 cm long, finely divided and serrated, lanceolate or triangular; often they have long sharp spines; throughout the summer they produce erect stems, 100-120 cm high, which bear smaller-sized leaves, but very similar to the basal ones, and at the apex of which a large spherical inflorescence blooms, consisting of small flowers of intense blue or silvery-white. Very popular as cut flowers, Echinops sphaerocephalus can also be dried; these plants are generally preferred by bees and butterflies, in places suitable for their development they can become slightly weeds.
After planting the bullet thistle plants should be watered regularly for at least a month; subsequently the Echinops sphaerocephalus are satisfied of the rains, and they need watering only in case of long periods of drought.At the beginning of spring supply slow release granular fertilizer, specific for flowering plants so that the flowering can be more abundant.Ground
Echinops sphaerocephalus prefer poor, sandy, dry, very well drained soils.
Usually plants grown in rich and wet soils tend to be more easily affected by pests and diseases.
Bullet thistle plants adapt smoothly to garden soil as long as it is very draining.
For the reproduction of these specimens so as to obtain new seedlings it is possible to proceed by sowing, by dividing the clumps or by cutting. In late spring it is possible to sow, in seedbeds, in a protected and shaded place, with an average temperature close to 18-20 ° C so that the new plants have time to develop before the final planting; in autumn it is possible to divide the clumps, or to practice root cuttings to be placed directly in the ground.
Bullet thistle - Echinops sphaerocephalus: Pests and diseases
Specimens of this genus are usually not affected by pests or diseases; occasionally aphids can lurk on the inflorescences, causing serious damage. If their presence is noted, it is advisable to intervene promptly with the use of specific insecticide products or with natural methods, such as garlic-based products, macerated in water or a marseille water and soap preparation. The presence of excessive humidity can lead to the onset of radical rot.