A-Z of Plants
These perennials have spiny leaves and dome-shaped umbels of teasel-like blue or white flowers. They are native to rocky, coastal and grassland areas across the world. Eryngium are commonly known as ‘Sea Holly’, though they aren’t actually related to the true hollies (Ilex).
Their unique, spiky leaves act as a defense from grazing animals but also means they look great as a unique statement piece in many areas of the garden.
They are happiest when grown in full sun in dry, well-drained soil. They look fantastic when used in rock gardens and in Mediterranean style gardens, as well as in beds and borders. Attractive seed heads can be left to add winter interest after flowering or these can be used as cut flowers.
‘Picos Blue’ is a lovely variety with deeply lobed, dark green foliage which is marbled with silvery-white veins. This gives it an attractive and almost luminous appearance. Starry flowers appear on branched stems throughout summer, with attractive seed heads providing interest in autumn and winter.
Another popular variety is Eryngium x zabelii 'Neptune's Gold'. This variety produces electric blue, thistle-like flowers. Leaf-like bracts are silvery blue in colour and turn gold towards the tips, creating an exquisite contrast of striking colours.