Coloring thistle – planting, cultivating and propagating

The safflower in the home garden impresses with its filigree, orange flowers. We will explain how to grow and maintain this plant.

Flowering stinging thistle Staining thistle infatuates with its yellow-orange flower. As a cut flower her inflorescence is very popular among florists and flower lovers | © tpsdave –

The safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), like the sunflower, is prized by gardeners for its bright petals. By the way: both plants have a lot in common. From their seeds, valuable edible oil is extracted. Thus, they are highly valued for the food industry and are cultivated extensively in agriculture.

Whether in the cottage garden, nature garden or ornamental garden, the safflower is always pleasant to the touch.

The safflower in Portrait

The Carthamus tinctorius was used as a dye plant in ancient Egypt more than 5,000 years ago. Mummy screens and other fabrics were dyed red with it. The natural range extends from the Middle East to Central Europe.

The safflower is a thistle-like, fast-growing, herbaceous plant. The one to two year old plant grows upright. Their stems can reach a height of 70 to 130 centimeters. Elongated, thorny leaves grow along the stem.

From June to July the thistle blooms in a rich orange. In September / October, the seeds then ripened.

Tip: The inflorescences are suitable as cut flowers for the vase or for decorative arrangements. You can also use thornless varieties if you want to plant dyer thistles as ornamental plants or cut flowers.

A sunny, warm location is preferred

If you want to grow this attractive thistle in your garden, then you should definitely choose a sunny and warm location.

The soil should be permeable.
To make sure your Carthamus tinctorius thrives and develops a ravishing bloom, sow the plant in loamy-sandy soil. The soil should also be neutral and well drained, so that no waterlogging can form. Dry lean soils are not suitable for cultivation.

How to sow the safflower Thistles

  • For sowing, the seedbed for the safflower should be loosened up. This promotes the development of young plants.
  • Place the seeds within the row 5 cm apart. The sowing depth should be 2 to 3 centimeters. For a crop group, it is advisable to choose a row spacing of 20 centimeters.
  • Now, be patient: the germination period is at least two to three weeks.

Hold the soil is moderately moist, compost covers the nutrient requirement

  • Once the seed has risen, you should ensure that the soil is kept moist regularly. The plant grows out with moderate watering as it develops a strong tap root and can absorb moisture from the deeper soil layers. During flowering care should be taken not to wet the filigree flowers with water. When wet, they are very sensitive.
  • If you have incorporated compost into the ground during soil preparation, then no further fertilization is necessary. You can, however, give your safflower additional minerals in the form of Thomaskali or Patentkali. This will cause your plants to develop a resilient and robust plant scaffold.
  • Cutting for flowering and seed harvesting
    A standard pruning, such as perennials, is not done on the Carthamus tinctorius. Only for harvest you can work with the secateurs the plant. The flowers are separated, which are harvested as German saffron or fake saffron. Dried and grated in a mortar, you can use the flowers to color food and drinks. Another cut is planned for the seed harvest in September / October. In this way, you will gain new seed for the next year and prevent the plant from spreading.

    Since these thistle seeds can tolerate temperatures down to -10 ° C, the thistle thistle could grow in unwanted areas in the garden the following year.

    Conclusion: The safflower is an undemanding but attractive plant. Her filigree orange flowers are in the garden to advantage. It prefers a sunny site as well as a lemig-sandy and well drained soil. The plant is only moderately watered. The plant makes no great demands on the nutrient requirement.