Milk thistle plant for sale – Easy plant to grow with edible flower head and leaves, mostly grown for the ornamental flowers and for the leaves, planting season in spring to summer in cold climate or autumn or winter in warm climate, better to buy plant or another option to start from seeds yet more challenging.
Milk thistle plant – information before buying:
Growing information: annual or biennial plant, growing hardiness zone: 6-11, but mostly grown as house plant, water needed – small to average amount, light conditions – full sun, height: 0.5-1.8 m, 20-70 inches.
Blooming in the spring in warm climate or summer in colder areas that appear in purple and rarely white color.
Leaves harvesting season in the spring to autumn and to winter in hardiness zone 10-11 that appear in green leaves sometimes with white lines color.
Alternative names: Silybum marianum, Cardus marianus, Blessed milk thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, Variegated thistle, Scotch thistle, Blessed milkthistle, Marian thistle, Mary thistle, Saint Mary’s thistle
Uses – Medicinal properties with homeostatic properties (against heavy periods, nosebleed), action against liver disorder (chronic liver congestion, viral hepatitis). Its seeds contain silymarin, a powerful protective substance for the liver (known as a liver-tonic). It also regulates blood sugar and circulating cholesterol level and treats digestive disorder. It can be used as an anti-againg and helps the skin condition. It is also an ornamental plant. All the parts of the p0lant are edible even if the part containing the sylimarin component is the seed. Milk thistle can be used powdered, dry, as a salad ingredient or added to a beverage.
Location – Sunny
Soil – Well-drained but can grow also in poor and alkaline soil
Propagation – from seed in the late spring or from May to August. It behaves as biennial. It takes 3 to 4 weeks for the seedlings to germinate at a temperature around 15°C (59°F).
Watering – Water the first few weeks often, without wetting the leaves too much – plants usually drink from their roots. In pots, water at least once a week, as soon as the surface soil dries. Milk thistle is a very drought tolerant plant and prefers dry conditions.
Harvesting – from the first year seeds are ready for picking. Season to harvest is in autumn. Be careful picking the plant as it has sharp spines. Cut the head of the milk thistle from the stalk. Dry the heads for one week in a paper bag put in a warm location. Store the seeds in an airtight container in a cool dry place.