Alphabetical Plant Listing

Cirsium discolor (Field Thistle)

Field Thistle, Pasture Thistle, Carduus discolor


Cirsium discolor (Field Thistle) is a tall biennial or short-lived perennial producing a basal rosette in the first year and flowers in the second year. Its upright stem is usually hairy and branched on the upper third. It is clad with alternate leaves with deep spine-tipped lobes and downy white undersides. In early summer to fall, the plant boasts lavender pink pincushion-like flower heads, 2 in. across (5 cm), packed with over 100 disc flowers. Blooming for about a month, they produce copious nectar and are visited by numerous bees, beetles and butterflies. The blossoms give way to seeds with long downy plumes that facilitate dispersal by the wind. Finches, small mammals and insects eat the seeds. Found in meadows, wood edges and openings, field borders, abandoned fields, pastures and roadsides in the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada, Field Thistle has a central taproot and does not spread by rhizomes. It is not invasive or as difficult to control as non-native thistles.

  • Grows up to 30-80 in. tall (75-180 cm) and 12-24 in. wide (30-60 cm). Field Thistle will die after flowering, but will readily self seed in the garden.
  • Thrives in full sun to partial shade and average to dry soil moisture. Plants have a deep root system and should not require supplemental water once established.
  • Lovely in beds and borders, cottage gardens, naturalized areas and prairies and meadows. It is best to plant Field Thistle in an area where competing vegetation has been removed. Good as cut flowers too!
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for bud weevil and crown weevil. Grazing animals will avoid grazing the immediate area around thistles.
  • Propagate by seed in late fall to early spring.
  • Native to much of the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada.

Not sure which Cirsium - Thistles to pick?
Compare All Cirsium - Thistles

Buy Cirsium discolor (Field Thistle)

Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 9
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Cirsium - Thistles
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 2' – 6' (60cm – 180cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 18" – 24" (45cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

Buy Plants


Pictures are courtesy of Joshua Mayer, Justin Meissen, Aaron Carlson, Flickr

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 3 – 9
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Cirsium - Thistles
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 2' – 6' (60cm – 180cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 18" – 24" (45cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy
Native Plants United States, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

Plant Calculator

How many Cirsium discolor (Field Thistle) do I need for my garden?

%
ft
ft

Your Shopping List

Plant Quantity
Cirsium discolor (Field Thistle)

Find your Hardiness Zone

Find your Climate Zone

Find your Heat Zone

Join Gardenia.net

Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

Join now and start creating your dream garden!

Create a New Collection

Optional. For your reference.


Move Selected Plants to a Different Collection


Delete Collection

This field is required.