Echinops or blue hedgehogs soar above the grasses


Of course, hedgehogs can’t fly. And this is good 🙂

But the presented plant is indeed called a hedgehog, or rather, it is translated from Greek as «with the appearance of a hedgehog» (echinos). According to the Latin version, this is Echinops, the Russian version is Mordovnik, the Ukrainian version is Krutai, Golovaten.

Sometimes this plant is called a eryngium (the heads are blue), however, this name has long belonged to another wonderful plant — eringium.

Despite the fact that the «blue hedgehog» is a dried flower, you will not find it in the autumn garden of cereals. By that time, the seeds ripen, which the birds eat with pleasure and to the last.

Not all mordovniks are blue, there are species that acquire this color during flowering, others are completely gray-gray from spring to autumn, and there are also those that bloom white.

By the way, this flower is able to bloom twice, provided that the first flowering began early, somewhere in June. Then the procedure for cutting faded balls will provoke re-blooming in August.

Echinops blooms for a month and a half, which, of course, pleases. By the way, this is an excellent honey plant, valued by beekeepers.

Mordovnik can grow up to two meters, but shorter individuals are valued in landscape design. The diameter of the inflorescences-balls reaches (depending on the species) 3-5 cm.

The appearance of Echinops is strict and elegant, therefore it easily fits into the design of the «new wave» gardens with their meadow flower beds, and into the pretentious front gardens of lovers of bright colors.

Echinops in its natural habitat


Only three types of Echinops are used in culture, some of them have varieties.

Mordovnik ordinary (Echinops ritro)

  • Growth area: Southern Europe, part of Eastern Europe, Asian part of Turkey, Western Siberia, Central Asia.
  • Flowering period: July August.
  • Color spectrum: the stem is white-pubescent, the «hedgehogs» are bluish-blue, the flowers are blue.
  • Height: 30-80 cm.
  • Growing conditions: unpretentious, loves the sun, does not like stagnant moisture.
  • Peculiarities: perennial, honey plant, medicinal plant.

Mordovnik ball-headed (Echips sphaerocephalus)

  • Growth area: Ukraine, Central Russia, Caucasus, Central Asia.
  • Flowering period: June July.
  • Color spectrum: all bluish, during the flowering period it is covered with a whitish haze of flowers.
  • Height: up to 2 m.
  • Growing conditions: unpretentious, loves the sun, does not like stagnant moisture.
  • Peculiarities: herbaceous perennial, medicinal plant, valuable honey plant.

Mordovnik banatsky (Echinops bannaticus)

  • Growth area: Europe, that part of it, which is located at the junction of Serbia, Romania and Hungary (historical area, referred to as Banat).
  • Flowering period: June-September
  • Color spectrum: the stem is green, the spines and flowers are blue (white).
  • Height: up to 1 m.
  • Growing conditions: unpretentious, loves the sun, does not like stagnant moisture.
  • Peculiarities: herbaceous perennial, the most decorative species, represented by a number of varieties.


Mordovnik feels great on any soil — it does not tolerate only flooding.

If the soil is poor, then the bush will turn out to be compact, beautiful.

Therefore, in order not to cause excessive growth and, as a result, the collapse of the bush, the soil under Echinops is fertilized only once every two years in the fall, and even then with compost.

Echinops actively propagates by self-sowing, to avoid this, faded inflorescences should be cut off immediately after flowering.

Mordovnik is a beautiful dried flower.

In order to prepare it, you need to cut it off at the «thorn» stage or wait until the flowers on the heads open by two-thirds. During this period, the plant is cut, tied in bunches, turned upside down with flowers and hung to dry in a ventilated and protected from the sun place.

In dry bouquets, Echinops is extremely good, however, very fragile.


The distinct contours of the mordovnik perfectly position themselves against the background of concrete, stone, brick and garden sculptures.

It enhances the effect of these textures: modernizes concrete, ages the patina of brick and darkened plaster.

For this reason, and also in view of its high growth, the mordovnik can be found in the background near the south side of the fence, walls or gravel paths.

In the photo, the muzzle is often depicted as bright blue. This is not entirely true.

In fact, this is Photoshop, and the color is enhanced only in order to highlight this beautiful plant against the background of herbs.

Janet's Devis

The photo above, by Janet Davis, shows a ball-headed muzzle against a backdrop of soft purple phlox and the plank sheathing of the wall of the house.

However, the most common place of this perennial in the landscape is among herbaceous flower beds.


Clear contours of inflorescences, sophisticated engraving of the stem, noble shades — all this allows the mordovnik to easily coexist with spray roses, paniculate hydrangeas, clematis, gelenium, dahlias, rudbeckia, mallow, phlox, bluebells, delphinium, Perovskaya, sage, daylilies and the like.

Mordovnik + hydrangea + sage + agapanthus + cornflower

mordovnik banatsky + decorative sunflower

echinops and eringium on the background of peacharia

mordovnik in the arms of monarda, chamomile and gelenium

Mordovnik organically looks against the background of baskets of tansy and yarrow


A guaranteed way to propagate Echinops is to grow from seed.

Do it in autumn or spring. So that there are no problems with subsequent transplantation and survival, sowing is carried out immediately in separate cells (in the spring at home) or pots dug into the ground (in September in the open field).

A less reliable option is to transplant the children from the mother bush, which has reached the age of four. The fact is that the root of the Mordovnik is pivotal and very fragile. And this type of perennial is highly undesirable to transplant, since damage to the root will entail the death of the entire plant.

However, it is young (not the smallest) medium-sized individuals that can take root, since their root is small, but already strong, and if you act carefully, then everything can work out.

The best time for the procedure is early spring. The frequency of division is not more than once every 4-5 years. The place for transplantation is chosen where the mordovnik will live for the rest of the time.

It is important to carefully care for the transplanted plant until the end of the season, namely to monitor the maintenance of moderate soil moisture.

An overwintered plant automatically becomes unpretentious and will delight you throughout the warm season from May to August for the next 15-20 years.

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