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Plant Profile: Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum)

eryngium-maritimumSea holly is an evergreen herbaceous perennial and a member of the carrot family (Apiaceae) that includes Queen Anne’ lace, dill, and parsley. It is a native to Europe where it grows on the sandy shores of the coast lines. The blue-green leaves are stiff and leather. They are two to four inches long and three lobed with large spiny teeth. The pale blue flower heads appear in the summer and are burr-like. They are surrounded by a few broad, silvery bracts. The roots are very long and plants resent being transplanted but are very drought tolerant once established.

Type: Evergreen herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Pale blue flowerheads with silvery bracts in summer

Size: 12-24” H x 12-24” W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Light, sandy, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 5-8

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: Slugs

Propagation: Seed sown immediately upon ripening; division in early spring or autumn; root cuttings in autumn or winter

Companion Plants: Red valerian (Centranthus rubr), seaside aster (Erigeron glaucus), perennial pea (Lathyrus latifolius), obedient plant (Physotegia virginiana)