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Herbaceous Perennial

Eryngium variifolium

variable-leaved sea holly

E. variifolium is an evergreen perennial to 40cm tall, forming a clump of rounded basal leaves with white veins, with branched, leafy stems bearing silvery-blue flower-heads with narrow, spiny silver bracts

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green White
Summer Blue Grey Silver Green White
Autumn Green White
Winter Green White
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed
Hardiness
H4
Botanical details
Family
Apiaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Eryngium can be annuals, biennials or perennials with simple or divided leaves, often spiny edged, and cone-like flower-heads often surrounded by an involucre of conspicuous spiny bracts

Name status

Correct

Plant range
N Africa

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in dry, well-drained soil that is poor to moderately fertile. Full sun is essential as is protection from winter wet

Propagation

Propagate by seed or root cuttings in late winter

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Coastal
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Gravel garden
  • Rock garden
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Although you can cut back flower stems after flowering the seedheads are a very attractive feature so are usually left over winter

Pests

Can get leaf and bud eelworms

Diseases

May be affected by powdery mildews and root rot

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