How to Grow Thistle From Seed


The thistle plant is recognizable by its characteristically spiny leaves and flowers. It is a large plant family that includes members such as the artichoke and milk thistle. Birds love thistle seeds. To attract finches and other seed eating birds to your garden, a small thistle patch is hard to beat. Planting thistles has its rewards, but this plant is considered a weed and tends to grow like one. A small patch of thistles today can become a large invasive problem in the near future.

Step 1

Clear a patch of ground by removing all grasses and weeds. Turn the soil over to loosen it and rake the area smooth.

Step 2

Scatter the thistle seeds liberally onto the prepared area; the best time to plant thistle seeds is in the cool wet days of spring and fall.

Step 3

Rake 1 to 2 inches of dirt over the area to keep birds from eating the seeds.

Step 4

Water the area for five to seven minutes or until the ground is wet to a depth of 3 inches. Test the depth of the moisture level in the ground by pressing your index finger into the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Thistles are very invasive and can take over areas of pastureland and lawn. Livestock do not eat thistles and tend to avoid areas that are heavy with thistles.

Things You'll Need

  • Thistle seeds
  • Rake
  • Garden fork


  • Government of Saskatchewan: Milk Thistle
  • Thistles
  • Cultivation of Milk Thistle can change the Fortune of the Farmers
Keywords: bird attracting plants, planting from seed, cultivating weeds

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.