E-Series Plants, Part 2: Eryngium

Eryngium yuccifolium in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Eryngium yuccifolium (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

The first of the E-Series plants (easy to grow beauties that start with the letter E) was the orby echinops.  Now, for a textural blue unlike any other, my next E choice selection is eryngium, commonly known as seaholly.  From purply-blues to smoky grey-blues, this plant has your number.  The slightly prickly, oval leaved eryngium adds texture and entertainment to your garden by easily mingling in with just about any plant you pair it with. And that’s where it gets fun and creative.

If you like subtle, muted tones in the garden, mix eryngium with soft pinks, whites and yellows.  It will happily cohabitate with phlox, coreopsis, daisies-eryngium is a lover, not a fighter. However, if you like more razzle dazzle, eryngium is the right moderator to soothe down some of the most sizzling reds, oranges and fuchsias.  I love to mix several eryngiums in with my hot orange daylilies, but they show off just as nicely with the deep pink echinacea purpurea and golden rudbeckia.

Eryngium with rudbeckia in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Eryngium with rudbeckia (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

And if you’re looking for focal point material, plant a few rattlesnake eryngiums.  A lighter shade of blue-grey with much more clout, Eryngium yuccifolium stands out like Mr. Clean with his shining bald head, brawny muscular arms and big grin, overseeing the underlings in your garden.  Eryngium yuccifolium is native to the western US, and so will prefer that type of situation; lots of sun, and sandy, well drained soil.  It will grow happily in gravel, as it does in my friend Kathleen Nelson’s garden. And don’t despair if it dies over a wet winter, like other eryngiums, if you don’t remove the seed heads it will certainly show up in another garden location.  Also, not to worry if it plants itself where you’d rather it didn’t, it will relocate and move to another spot the following year.

For a readily available, reliable, gentle self-sower with the most amazing shades of blue and grey, a member of the eryngium family will make a nice companion for your sunny, well drained garden in zones 5 – 8.

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  1. Hi Kathy
    I have had a difficult time finding our friend rattlesnake–where have you bought it?

    • Hi Cynthia: For the last several years, mine have ‘reproduced’ with seeds scattered from the original plants. It’s been at least a decade since I got my yuccifoliums from Kathleen Nelson and Sunny Border, but I did find two nurseries on line that presently offer it and show stock: almostedenplants.com @ $7.99 each or dntnursery.com with 3 @ $21.99. You might find a local nursery that offers it (unadvertised) as well. Good luck!

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