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In Manitoba, Canada (zone 3) I planted one 3 or 4 years ago and up until this year it was a manageable size. It has nearly doubled in both height and width this summer (likely because of the amount of rain we've had) an taken over my path! To date, I haven't had any issues with it self seeding, although I do try to dead head (but never get all the seeds I'm sure). Globe thistle is nothing like Canada Thistle, which I've had to fight with since moving to this home. I had a very healthy patch of it that didn't respond to 2-4D! The shovel was time and labour intensive, but for the most part worked...they're still an ongoing issue, however!
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I live on Long Island, NY and have had a large globe thistle growing in a bed bordering my driveway for the last 4 years. It has never self seeded or become invasive. It grows to about 4 ft tall, gets lots of flowers and is a delight. It is in full sun and is watered by an automatic sprinkler system. I think the problem some are having is with a specific breed because not all thistles are noxious and invasive. I love mine and am constantly being asked for cuttings.
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Barb comb, if you get a chance would you post a photo of your Globe Thistle? Thank you.
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