Silybum: Blessed Thistle, Our Lady’s Milk Thistle
Height 1.2m (4ft)
Planting distance 60cm (2ft)
Flowers mid summer to early autumn
Open sunny site
The fast-growing Silybum marianum is chiefly cultivated for its striking foliage of ovate, glossy dark green and spiny leaves heavily marbled with white veins. They are carried in flat, wide-spreading rosettes topped from mid summer onwards with tall stems carrying deep violet-red thistle-like.
Sow seeds in the flowering site in early spring or early autumn, just covering them with soil. Thin the seedlings to 60cm (2ft) apart. Any soil is suitable, at the back of a border or in a semi-wild garden in full sun.
Pests and diseases