Highly ornamental, Eryngium alpinum (Alpine Sea Holly) is an attractive upright perennial with basal rosettes of heart-shaped, deeply toothed, glossy leaves. From mid-summer to early fall, sturdy leafy stems, tinged with soft blue to steel blue, bear cone-shaped, thistle-like, purplish-blue flower heads. Each flower head is surrounded by intricately cut, feather-like, soft blue bracts. Attractive to bees and butterflies but deer resistant, this is a versatile plant, fitting well into the sunny border.
- Grows in clumps of stiffly erect, branched stems up to 24-36 in. tall (60-90 cm) and 2 ft. wide (60 cm)
- Performs best in full sun in fairly dry, poor to moderately fertile well-drained soils. Tolerates light shade, poor soils, drought and salt.
- Excellent choice for gravel gardens, cottage gardens and coastal gardens. May be planted as a single specimen or in groupings. Perfect for cut or dried flower arrangements too!
- Although you can cut back flower stems after flowering the seedheads are a very attractive feature so are usually left over winter
- Watch for leaf and bud eelworms, powdery mildew and root rot.
- Propagate by seed sown in pots in a cold frame as soon as seed is ripe
- Native to the Balkans