Cirsium heterophyllum Melancholy Thistle
30 seeds per packet.
A native of the grassland, open woodland and river valleys of northern Europe and western Russia, this clump-forming perennial in the Asteraceae family produces spineless, lanceolate leaves with silvery undersides and, from June to August, violet-red flowers that bees find irresistible. Height 120 cm. Full sun to part shade in any garden soil.
Can be sown from autumn to June. Cover seed thinly, press in gently and keep top of compost from drying out. Keep pot cool over winter. Keep warm at 15 to 20°C in spring until germination, then move to somewhere cooler.
Carefully prick out seedlings when they have developed true leaves and are large enough to transplant to individual pots to grow on.