Milk thistle, a flowering plant, belongs to the Silybum genus. They belong to various regions in Europe, Middle East, and North Africa. This plant is grown because the different parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes. Although more research is required, milk thistle is known to be used for liver disorders, diabetes, depression, gallbladder issues, jaundice, chronic hepatitis, and many other health conditions. Apart from these advantages, many people eat the leaves and flowers of the plant as salads. Even the seeds of the plant are roasted to use instead of coffee beans.
The milk thistle plant is also known as holy thistle, elephant thistle, blessed milk thistle, and ivory thistle in other parts of the world. The tube shaped pinkish-purple flowers bloom annually and its leaves are green with little white lines that resemble veins. The stalks of the plant can grow tall given the right environment and care. Even though there are only 2 species of this plant, there are many hybrid varieties that have been discovered due to the 2 species. In order to grow this plant, there are certain factors like sun, soil, watering requirements, and fertilizer that need to be taken care of. So read the rest of the article to find out how milk thistle can be grown properly.
Planting Milk Thistle
Milk thistle grows from seeds, so you have to begin with planting them in a pot inside your home. With the fingers, push the seeds inside the soil. If you are planting any of the annual varieties, the best time of the year to plant the seeds is early spring. As for the biennial varieties, plant them during early summers. The seeds require germinating, which takes about 2 to 3 weeks and once they do, it is time to transfer them outdoor. You will require seed trays filled with potting soil. Plant 3 to 5 seeds together and water them on a regular basis. Once germination occurs, start the transferring process. Annual varieties need to be transplanted outdoors after the last frost and biennials get transplanted outdoors close to end of summer.
In the garden, you need to choose an area where there is sunlight for about 8 hours a day but the plants grow in partial shade. Since the plant is resilient, there is no soil preference for growing milk thistle. To ready the soil, you need to fertilize it and remove any and all vegetation so that the plants can grow properly. You can even plant the seeds directly in the garden. All you have to do is rake the soil about 1'' from the top and spread the seeds around. Rake the soil again and slightly cover the seeds with the soil. This way, even with harsh winds blowing, the seeds won't blow away or around the garden. Water the garden so the soil is damp and keep watering the seeds till they germinate. Once the sprouts begin to grow, you don't need to water them too often. Just keep in check that the leaves don't wilt. Remove weeds from the garden so that milk thistle plants can have enough nutrients to grow properly.
To keep the aesthetics of your garden alive, you need to prune the stems from the top when the flowers begin to wilt. Whether you are growing milk thistle plants for brightening your garden or milk thistle benefits, follow the important instructions mentioned above. Follow them properly and watch your garden flourish with milk thistle plants all around.