Eryngium Seeds to sow in November
Eryngium - Sea Holly These lovely perennial plants have very distinctive flower heads. Each one is made up of tiny individual flowers that form a cone shape, each surrounded by spiny bracts. The plants are adapted to cope with the tough conditions on the seashore, battered by strong winds and baked in the sun they are often found rising out of shingle. Eryngium plants have a long tap root that anchors them firmly in the soil whatever the weather. In the 17th and 18th century these roots were used in a number of ways, they were roasted as a vegetable and even candied and considered a delicacy or used in herbal remedies for coughs and whooping cough.
Today we grow these perennial plants as showy additions to gravel gardens or seaside and prairie planting schemes. With their metallic blue or silver flowers and stems they are also excellent for flower arrangements. Eryngium alpinum Silver Salentino is a lovely hybrid eryngium with a colour scheme that lives up to its name.
HOW TO SOW:
Sow the seed onto the surface of good free draining compost in individual cell trays or small pots. Cover seeds with a fine sprinkling of compost, grit or vermiculite and water gently,
Keep them outside in a sheltered spot, a cold frame or cold greenhouse is ideal. The seeds need a period of cold to germinate successfully and germination can be pretty slow so keep checking; keep the compost just moist but not wet. Because eryngium are tap-rooted plants the seedlings resent disturbance so thin emerging seedlings to leave just 1 per individual pot or cell.
Grow the seedlings on in cool conditions and transplant very carefully into deeper pots when they outgrow their original cell trays or pots. Plant outside in their final positions once they are well grown, sturdy plants.