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Sea hollies are striking plants for a summer border but only thrive where drainage is particularly good - they will not tolerate winter wet. E. x oliveranum is one of the most useful, having large vivid blue flowers with dark green, clearly veined leaves forming a loose rosette at the base of the plant. It survives in a wider range of soil types than many more difficult eryngiums, and can even cope with poor gravelly soil and heavier ground if it never becomes waterlogged. The flowers attract bees and other insects, and are good for cutting or drying. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Species: x oliverianum
Plant type: Hardy perennial
Flower colour: Blue
Foliage colour: Blue-green
Sun exposure: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained/light, Moist, Sandy
Skill level: Beginner
Time to divide plants: March to May
Flowering period: July to September
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