HARDY PERENNIALS: ERYNGIUM

The name ‘Sea Holly’ applies only to E. maritimum and though pretty, it is a plant that does not take to inland gardens. Other species will grow strongly from fangy roots in well drained soils to give a charming display of bluish flower bracts, often with stems blue as well. One of the prettiest is E. bourgatii, which has silvery, deeply cut and somewhat prickly foliage. It has erect shortly branched stems to about 2 feet carrying quite large silvery blue flowers above a spikey base. E. amethystinum is green leaved, but the flowers are deep blue, whilst E. tripartitum carries a sheaf of smaller blue flower on 3 feet stems. E. planum is strong growing but less blue, but E. variefolium has very pretty marbled foliage close to the ground and erect branching stems to 2½ feet of blue flowers, E. giganteum is silvery all over and though very effective, it dies after flowering and seedlings for replacement must be a matter of forethought. There are a few entirely green species, with fearsome looking evergreen foliage in large rosettes. E. bromeliaefolium and E. serra are two of them, which may appeal to some and like most species are not difficult and are long lived.

ERYNGIUM bourgatii

ERYNGIUM bourgatii

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