Eryngium variifolium

Sea holly

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial

Flower colour






Skill level


photo by Visions, copyright GAP Photos (45380)

Plant details

The amazingly spiky flowers of this sea holly always attract plenty of attention when they appear above the rosette of dark green leaves in mid- to late summer. A native of Morocco, it enjoys a sunny spot in well-drained soil that does not get too dry. This plant is perfect for a rock garden or the front of a sunny, well-drained border. Protect plants from winter wet as they are only borderline hardy.

Family: Apiaceae

Genus: Eryngium

Species: variifolium

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Dark green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Sandy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 40cm

Spread: 25cm

Time to divide plants: March to April

Flowering period: July to August

Reader reviews


Sorry, forgot to rate you! Done now!!


How can you say that this Sea Holly can be grown in a rock garden when you say it can grow to about 1 1/2 feet? Wouldn't that be too big for a rock garden? I really like the Sea Holly, think it's quite architectural. Twice I have tried to grow it. First time I bought it I left it on a bus!! So that was no good!? Then last year I sent away for some from quite a well known grower, thought I'd better buy the plant as I'd never manage it from seed (or whatever).No sign of it now! :{

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