Eryngium planum

‘Blue Hobbit’



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Eryngium planum ‘Blue Hobbit’


I never thought I would love something that has prickles and could be mistaken for a thistle.
But I cannot live without the metallic, intense blue-silver of Eryngium planum ‘Blue Hobbit’.

Intensely blue cones with sheet metal ruffs

Every part of Eryngium planum ‘Blue Hobbit’ looks as if it has been cut from iridescent blue aluminium foil.
From the haze of vivid steely blue cones cones, each wearing their metallic ruffs, to the silver stems – it is all handsome and architectural.
And ‘Blue Hobbit’ is a dainty miniature size plant, but with full size metallic cones.
So it is the Eryngium of choice for small gardens or pots.
(Scroll down to “Growing” section for plant details, how / where to grow) 

Tough as old boots in the dry garden

Eryngiums revel in the hottest, driest, most exposed, windiest, and sunniest position you have.
They relish living with a sea view, and can withstand salt in the wind.
Eryngium planum is known as “Flat Sea Holly” because all of the aerial fireworks of flowing, comes from a neat, flat to the ground, rosette of foliage.

A good one for beginners to try

Eryngium planum, and its cultivars like this dwarf version ‘Blue Hobbit’, are considered the most reliable, easy and rewarding of all Eryngiums. So if you wish to just get one to try – ‘Blue Hobbit’ is a good starter. But be warned – Eryngiums are addictive.

Eryngiums invented “Drought Hardy”

Eryngiums have very low water needs.
And they accept dry conditions as normal, and are very drought resistant.
In fact if you give them too much water they will probably turn up their toes or sulk
They are right up there with Sedums as being highly recommended and water-wise for water conscious gardeners.

Superb cut flowers both fresh and dried

Eryngiums can be compared to Everlastings in texture, as they are firm to the touch.
So they make extremely long lasting vase flowers when they are cut fresh, and even longer when dried.
For dried arrangements you just hang them upside down until fully dry, and they retain their marvellous steely-blue colours.   

Growing: Eryngium planum ‘Blue Hobbit’


Height with flowers: Big, airy summer flower heads come up in clouds to 30cm approx..
Width: Evergreen clump of handsome foliage to a diameter of approx. 30cm.
Position: Eryngiums revel in the hottest, driest, most exposed, windiest and sunniest position you have. 
Eryngiums will tolerate just a little shade, as long as it is well aired and dry. But under no circumstances should it be put in damp shade.
Eryngium are ideal for coastal and seaside gardens, where they tolerate salt spray well.

Eryngiums invented “Drought Hardy”

Soil: Eryngiums adore anything that drains perfectly.
So sandy, rocky, gravel soils are just their thing.
They will certainly also thrive in average garden loam, as long as they are not overwatered. But kiss them goodbye in heavy, wet, or clay soils.
They are not a bit fussy about soil pH, and so will live happily in soils on either the acid or the alkaline (lime) side of neutral.
And it is a mistake to over fertilize them, as they grow and flower best when kept on lean rations.
Water-wise: Eryngiums have very low water needs. They accept dry conditions as normal, and are very drought resistant. In fact if you give them too much water they will probably turn up their toes.
Frost: Eryngiums are bomb proof in frost, and can blissfully ignore severe frost down to well below -20C.

Handsome & architectural

Growth: Evergreen perennial that remains all year as a ground hugging rosette of flat leaves.
Then in the summer it erupts up with clouds of silver-vivid blue cones, on large branching heads. Magic.
Fragrance: None, but Eryngiums have so many other highly desirable qualities we can forgive one little oversight.
Beneficial for wildlife: Bees and other useful pollinators work them very happily for abundant pollen and nectar, oblivious to any prickles.
Deer & Rabbit resistant: I dare the pests to take a bite and get a mouthful of prickles. Sadly they are too smart. And not even slugs and snails are interested in the tough, glossy foliage of sea Hollies.

A “plant & forget” beauty

Low Care: Eryngiums are very low maintenance, with the only work being to cut the finished flower branches down at the end of autumn. Though many like to leave the dried seed heads for finches and other small seed eating birds over winter. The dried branches of seed heads certainly look very attractive rimmed with frost.
Origin: Hot, dry, rocky and desert places around the Mediterranean Sea and into the Holy Lands of the Middle East.


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