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Here are some tips for planting milk thistle in gardens: You can grow milk thistle in gardens with most types of soil, even soil … Be sure to space each hole about three feet apart, and you'll only need three or four seeds for each hole. Members of the Silybum plant genus are hardy annuals or biennials that reach a height of about 1.2 m. They bloom in the summer when they carry purple flowers reminiscent of thistles. 2. The plant is an antioxidant that has been shown to protect cells from damage, and it also contains the active ingredient silymarin, which is used to treat liver and gallbladder issues. Very interesting hub! A single plant can produce over 6,000 seeds that can remain viable for 9 years and germinate at any temperature between 32 F. and 86 F. (0-30 C.). Milk thistle is considered very easy to grow and can tolerate most conditions, but this means it is also extremely invasive. Native to the Mediterranean, it now can be found throughout the world including (but not limited to) Europe, England, Africa, Asia, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, etc. While safe for humans to eat, milk thistle is considered toxic to livestock, which is bad, as it often grows in pastures and is hard to get rid of. The weakest plants can be thinned out after they germinate, which should take about 10 to 20 days. Milk thistle is an annual or biennial herb in the thistle group of the aster family. Instead of planting directly in the ground, opt to grow milk thistle in containers. It is also not native to North America and considered highly invasive. Lift the thistle back out and tap the stem against the container to remove any excess. The milk thistle's seeds can be planted in seed trays filled with potting soil, and then covered with a light layer of soil. The milk thistle's seeds should be sown outside about 1/2 inch deep in either March or April for summer flowering. Grim on growing milk thistle: Use it as directed on the bottle. We supervise to the progress of growing at selected growers from controlled agriculture. Seeds can also be caught in the wind and carried easily on clothes and shoes, spreading it to neighboring land. You can even plant the seeds directly in the garden. In fact, in studies where high doses were used for long periods, only about 1% of people experienced side effects ( 1 ). Rating Content; Positive: On Mar 10, 2016, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote: No experience growing this plant, but we use it commonly in veterinary medicine (and sure it human medicine, too) for treating all sorts of liver maladies- it is not really a medicine, but a nutraceutical product that has supportive actions for the liver, and can be a useful addition to treating most liver diseases. Plant the seeds in seed trays filled with potting soil and cover them with a very light layer of soil. Growing in Containers When growing milk thistle for herbal or medicinal purposes, many gardeners will plant them indoors. Since the plant is resilient, there is no soil preference for growing milk thistle. By just raking the soil about 1'' from the top and spread the seeds around. The name "milk thistle" derives from two features of the leaves: they are mottled with splashes of white and they contain a milky sap. Being Grown in Containers . Milk thistle is a Mediterranean plant in the daisy family that is characterized by tufts of purple flower heads surrounded by a halo of protective thorns. Although milk thistle is a drought-resistant plant, it will still require water in completely dry conditions, at least until it's established. The History of Milk Thistle. Maintain lightly damp soil (not wet) AND temperatures around 70°F (21°C) until the seeds have germinated. Plant native thistles for the … Here are some tips for planting milk thistle in gardens: You can grow milk thistle in gardens with most types of soil, even soil that is very poor. Milk thistles belong to the genus Silybum. deep just after the last frost in a spot that receives full sun. Jun 2, 2016 - Milk thistle growing instruction & requirement Milk thistle info: climate, zone, growth speed, water, light, planting season & colors These plants behave and spread much like weeds, which means they can quickly overtake any other plants nearby and absorb all of the space and nutrients. Silymarin can be found in the plant's seeds, which are often used to make extracts or tinctures that can be used medicinally. Use 3-4 seeds for each hole and then thin out the weakest ones when they germinate in 10-20 days. Milk thistle grows not 200 feet from my front door, in an empty lot across the street. Silybum marianum (L) Milk thistle is a easy growing and gorgeous plant to grow with many fab applications contains silymarin, a chemical component known to improve liver health, earning the plant its status as a “liver tonic.” If you want to produce your own silymarin, milk thistle growing … The milk thistle's purple flowers sit on top of spiky heads, and it is also known for its bright green foliage with white marbling (which is what give the plant it's milky moniker). Growing in pots may stifle milk thistle plants' aggressive growth habit and prevent them from overwhelming your garden. Ingestion can cause nitrate poisoning in cattle and sheep. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. The dried flower heads may be used for decoration of dry bouquets. The Mediterranean native plant is particularly fond of growing in rocky, dry regions. 2. Silybum marianum is an annual in the Asteraceae family that grows three to seven feet tall with lettuce-like leaves and spikey, purple flowers.The plant has been used for centuries as a food and for its healthful properties. Milk thistle. Growing Guidelines. Place the flower heads in a paper bag in a dry place for a week to continue the drying process. This also helps prevent the plant from taking over the entire garden. As milk thistle is often considered a weed itself, virtually no weed control is needed. Plant your seeds ¼ inch (0.5 cm.) Field thistle initially grows in a basal rosette form (circle of leaves originating from one growing … Milk thistle is a very decorative plant. Western thistle does well in a dry garden setting with good drainage. To grow milk thistle outdoors, spread the seed directly over the desired area in the spring or fall. Most people consider milk thistle a pesky weed because it can grow tall and thorny, making it hard to even get near. The milk thistle plant will grow best in either a sunny or part shade location. Put on heavy gloves and protective clothing. You can also cook and eat the leaves and flower heads. These weed-like biennials can produce thousands of seeds from just one plant. Young plants grow as rosettes. Some of its close relatives include aster, daisy, dandelion, sunflower and ragweed. The flowers are most commonly harvested for their seeds. The milk thistle's seeds can be planted in seed trays filled with potting soil, and then covered with a light layer of soil. Fill the bottom of a plastic bucket with 4 to 6 inches of all-purpose potting soil. Space each hole 2½-3 feet apart. Their seeds can germinate in temperatures ranging anywhere from 32 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and the plant can remain viable for up to ten years. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) — also known as Mary thistle and holy thistle — is a common flowering herb 1, 2 within the Asteraceae family. Milk thistle is native to the Mediterranean region and has been used since ancient Greece to treat a variety of liver diseases. Milk thistle, a regulated Class A noxious weed, is a toxic, branching winter annual or biennial that grows 2-6 feet tall in disturbed areas, such as pastures, roadsides, ditches, and fencerows. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Prized for its medicinal properties, it is also considered highly invasive and is being targeted for eradication in some areas. Milk thistle (also called silybum milk thistle) is a tricky plant. If you wish plants to return the next growing season, they should be at least two zones hardier than your area, to withstand the deep freezing that … By using The Spruce, you accept our. Milk thistle is generally considered safe when taken by mouth (1, 45). This will not only enhance the overall appearance of the plant but will also help prevent the dispersal of seeds via the wind. Prized for its medicinal properties, milk thistle is also considered highly invasive and is being targeted for eradication in some areas. Milk thistle is a flowering plant that belongs to the Daisy family. There are some other species of thistle that are not as invasive, but you'll know it's a milk thistle because of the white markings on its foliage that other native species do not have. Click here for information about planting milk thistle in gardens, as well as combating milk thistle invasiveness. It can be direct seeded or sown in containers and transplanted. Like all thistles, it has sharp prickles to protect it from animals. You'll need reasonably deep pots to accommodate the plants because they … It can be found growing in meadows, wood edges and openings, field borders, abandoned fields, pastures and roadsides. The milk thistle also happens to be very cold hardy and difficult to eradicate once its established thanks to its deep taproots and dense foliage. You'll need to check if you can grow it in your region legally and weigh up the plants pros and cons before deciding to grow it. To ready the soil, you need to fertilize it and remove any and all vegetation so that the plants can grow properly. It looks good both in compositions and growing alone. Place the tray in an area that stays at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and water the soil daily until … Milk thistle should be grown in loamy or sandy soil. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) contains silymarin, a chemical component known to improve liver health, earning the plant its status as a “liver tonic.” If you want to produce your own silymarin, milk thistle growing conditions are very forgiving. Several other names have been used for the plant, including holy thistle, St. Mary thistle and Our Lady’s thistle. The milk thistle plant has a long history in alternative medicine and has been studied many times for possible medical applications. It is suggested that milk thistle seeds be sown about 0.1 inches (3 mm) deep at the beginning of spring. Insert the cut end of the milk thistle cutting into a rooting hormone. Regular pruning is not required, but flower stems may be removed to keep foliage effect. Doctors give trusted answers on uses, effects, side-effects, and cautions: Dr. A friend of mine takes milk thistle capsules for her liver, but I'd never thought of finding it in nature. Growing in containers is one way to control globe thistle plants when they exhibit invasive qualities. (monocarpic) thistle growing in much of the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada. Sign up for our newsletter. For over 20 years we process by our own development breed varieties fruit of milk thistle (Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertner), which are legally protected. The flower heads can be cut with scissors when they're young, and then either boiled or steamed until they're tender enough to eat. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! While most people actually consider milk thistle a pesky weed, and it can be quite invasive, its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-viral benefits make it worth keeping around. The seeds can be stored in an air-tight container. Most notably, this tall, thorny herb with spiky flowers has been prized for centuries for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties. Though it's sometimes considered a weed due to its invasive properties and ability to spread quickly, the milk thistle plant (Silybum marianum) has an array of medicinal benefits. The hardy milk thistle plant isn't picky when it comes to the type of weather it will grow in. The seeds can be harvested and you can cook and consume both the leaves and flower heads. Learn how to grow biennial milk thistle from seed: direct-sowing, germination, light and soil requirements, spacing, and harvesting for fresh use or seeds. Pick a sunny to partly-sunny spot. If growing milk thistle for herbal purposes, you can also plant it indoors. If you have milk thistle growing near you, you can harvest your own seeds. Sep 9, 2016 - Explore Melanie Martin's board "Milk Thistle", followed by 270 people on Pinterest. Milk thistle prefers full light exposure, but can grow well under light shade. In Feb-March, you can either direct sow milk thistle seeds in your garden OR start the seeds indoors in containers (biodegradable cells or deep plastic cells). Keep reading for information about planting milk thistle in gardens, as well as combating milk thistle invasiveness. However, these plants can be toxic to many animals, so, if it ends up in pastures, it can poison livestock. When growing milk thistle for herbal or medicinal purposes, many gardeners will plant them indoors. All parts of these tall and thorny biennial flowering plants can be eaten. Because the plant is associated with the Virgin Mary, who is reputed to have wept over the plant, it is also called Holy Thistle, Blessed Thistle, Mary Thistle and Lady’s Thistle. This also helps prevent the plant from taking over the entire garden. See more ideas about Milk thistle, Thistle, Herbalism. Milk Thistle, Silybum Adans, belongs to the sunflower family, native to southern Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor.Growing as high as 5 feet, Milk Thistle has large thorny leaves with striking light-green and white markings and bright pink flowers. If you've planted milk thistle to add a little bit of color to your landscape, their top stems can be pruned as soon as its flowers start to die off. Many growers of milk thistle will fertilize the soil with both nitrogen and potassium in order to increase the yield of seeds. Plant them in combination with other xeriscape plants that add contrasting color and softer textures, like yarrow or lavender cotton. Pour a 4- to 6-inch layer of plain water over the soil. Milk thistle seed has a long tradition of use in western herbalism and is typically decocted as milk thistle … Milk thistle seeds only take two weeks to germinate. Sow seeds outdoors or in an unheated greenhouse in the fall or winter for germination in early spring. Its primary constituent is silymarin, a phytochemical complex researched for a range of therapeutic effects on the liver and blood sugar. Once the seeds are dried, hack at the bag to separate them from the flower head. Milk thistle will grow easily in a variety of soil types, including sandy varieties and heavy clay dirt. They can also grow to be rather large (up to three feet tall and four feet wide), and the flower stalks themselves produce multiple flowers and can reach heights up to five feet. Guide to Growing Milk Thistle, Ivory Thistle and Holy Thistle. Medicinal: Traditional milk thistle extract is made from the seed. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) contains silymarin, a chemical component known to improve liver health, earning the plant its status as a “liver tonic.” If you want to produce your own silymarin, milk thistle growing conditions are very forgiving. Jennifer Lesser is a New Jersey-based freelance writer specializing in health and wellness for both humans and their four-legged friends. Silybum Milk Thistle Info. Usual daily dose is 12 to 15 g of whole or powdered fruit or 200 to 420 mg of milk thistle. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. 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Unlike many other edible plants, the milk thistle's seeds can remain viable for many years--even up to a decade after harvesting. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. The dried fruit may be used as medicine. Milk thistle is also a known antidote for certain poisonous mushrooms. If it is, you may be banned from growing it. How to Grow Milk Thistle. Since it grows in clumps, it is recommendable to space the plant 12-15 inches (30-38 cm) apart. Harvest the flower heads just as the flowers start to dry and a white pappus tuft (like on a dandelion) begins to form in its place. Plant the seeds about 1/4″ deep in organic seed starting mix. Sow seeds directly outside (½ inch deep) in March or April for summer flowering and a biennial plant. In some locations, growing milk thistle is actually illegal because of its ability to spread and destroy ecosystems. Congrats on HOTD! 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