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How to Grow Thistle From Seed

Updated February 21, 2017

Thistles tolerate droughts well and do not mind poor soil, so they can grow almost anywhere. Deer do not like thistles and planting them around your garden can keep them away from your tomatoes. Alternately, rabbits love thistles and having a fresh supply will keep the members of your hutch very happy. Traditionally, the milk from the stalk helps with ailments, they produce lovely flowers and many butterfly larvae love them.

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  1. Choose a time of year when daily temperatures are between 11.1 and 15 degrees Celsius and the last frost of spring has passed.

  2. Sow the thistle seeds at a depth of three millimetres in the soil in the cleared space.

  3. Water the seeds to help them germinate initially. They grow well in both wet and dry soils. Thistles sprout in about three weeks.

  4. Leave the thistles alone. They do well without much interference from gardeners.

  5. Remove the heads of the flowers after they bloom, but before they go to seed to help control the thistles in your yard.

  6. Tip

    Choose an area in your garden with full sun to get the best results with your thistles, though they will grow in slightly shady places too. Water the roots during the flowering season to get more flowers.


    Thistles can get out of control, if left unchecked. Make sure you pull the heads off flowers to keep them from seeding more in your garden.

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Things You'll Need

  • 52 to 59 degree temperatures
  • Thistle seeds
  • Cleared garden space

About the Author

Marissa Robert graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English language and literature. She has extensive experience writing marketing campaigns and business handbooks and manuals, as well as doing freelance writing, proofreading and editing. While living in France she translated manuscripts into English. She has published articles on various websites and also periodically maintains two blogs.

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