Plant Now: Eryngium



Sea holly (Eryngium planum) is a fashionable cut flower with its steel-blue pincushion blooms on stems up to 120cm high. The long-lasting flowers are superb in bouquets and vase arrangements. See the gorgeous bouquets here – the top wedding bouquet, which features over at Green Wedding Shoes, is predominantly green and white, with a subtle addition of purple eryngium. The boutonnieres (photo from the beautiful Rock My Wedding website) include olive leaves, lavender, statice and eryngium.

Eryngium is a hardy perennial, tolerant of salt winds and of poor soil so long as it’s free-draining. In fact, if the soil is overly fertile, the flowers tend to sprawl.

The thistle-like flowers appear in late summer/autumn for several months.

Seeds can be sown in trays now, but chill them in the fridge for 10-14 days before sowing to aid germination.

Plant Now: Sea Holly


Sea holly (Eryngium planum) is a head turner, with its steely blue pincushion-like flower heads perched atop 80-120cm high stems. The blooms appear from around midsummer to late autumn and are long-lasting as a cut flower (fresh or dried), with fresh blooms lasting 10-12 days in the vase.

Eyrngiums are clump-forming perennials that thrive in full sun. They won’t tolerate any hint of waterlogging, so make sure your soil is free-draining. They’ll grow in most types of soil, including dry, sandy and poor soils, though plants may sprawl if the soil is overly fertile.

Look for plants at your local garden centre.

Image credits: Top image is by Richard Loader; middle image is via Whimsical Wonderland Weddings.

Plant Now: Eryngium

Eryngium Blue Hobbit
Eryngium and grasses
If you want your garden to stand out, plant Eryngium ‘Blue Hobbit’. Or any variety of eryngium for that matter. These striking plants are quite the talking point, and they’re fabulous cut flowers too. ‘Blue Hobbit’ is actually a dwarf variety, with 15-25cm high stems. If you want taller stems, plant the species Eryngium planum instead, which grows 60-70cm high. Or for a white version, try Eryngium ‘White Glitter’, whose pincushion-like flowers grow 70cm high. All are available from Nikau Hill Nursery.

You have to look closely, but the bottom photo shows Eryngium ‘Silver Ghost’ planted in amongst the grasses. You can see more of this rooftop garden at Shoot Gardening.