Sweet Pea Specialists
Eryngium & Echinops
Updated: Jan 18
Wanting to add texture and architectural interest to your garden, then look no further.
Both Eryngium and Echinops are striking ornamental perennials with thistle-like silvery white or dazzling blue tinted flowers. They are both very versatile plants. Being drought tolerant once established they are ideal for dry gardens. Team them with ornamental grasses and perennial sedums.
For a more cottage garden or meadow look team them with achillea (yarrow) and echinacea (coneflowers).
These plants are extremely attractive to bees, butterflies and other insects.
How to Grow
These are some of the easiest plants to grow. They both require full sun and free-draining soil. You can leave the flowers to dry for winter interest or remove them. Drought and frost tolerant once established.
How to Use the Flowers
The flowers can be used in floral arrangements both fresh and dried. The blue colouring lasts for months in dried arrangements.
Eryngium planum 'Blue Sea Holly' is a striking blue plant that the bees love. This beautiful European sea holly forms clumps of heart-shaped leaves, over which a profusion of striking anodised, blue thimbles appear on vibrant silvery-blue stems from summer to autumn. The plant itself reaches a height of 30cm but with the flowers its height is around 90cm. The metallic blue flowers start appearing from mid-summer until the end of autumn.
Eryngium bourgatii - Sea Holly is native to the Pyrenees. It is a good blue variety forming a rounded mound of foliage. The metallic blue flowers start appearing from mid-summer until the end of autumn. The plant itself reaches a height of 30cm but with the flowers its height is around 90cm.
Eryngium planum - Flat Sea Holly is native to Eastern Europe and grows to around 90 cm tall. It produces numerous silver-blue flower heads during summer.
Eryngium Planum 'White Glitter' - Flat Sea Holly is an elegant perennial with a profusion of glistening silvery ivory flowers during summer. This Eryngium will grow to 90cm when in flower.
Echinops bannaticus ‘Taplow Blue’ is the best of the taller globe flowers with spherical flower heads up to 7cm in diameter. These steel-blue buds open into large balls of powdery mauve-blue when in full flower. It also features bold divided foliage and stiff vertical stems. Cut back to the ground in summer when the first flowers are finished and you will be rewarded by another display in autumn. Height 150cm
Echinops ritro 'Veitch's Blue' - Globe Thistle is a particularly attractive globe thistle, bearing tight globes of deep blue flowers that are the size of golf balls. This perennial grows to around 90cm.