Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’

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Product: Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’
Retailer: RHS Enterprise
  • Position: full sun
  • Soil: dry, well-drained, poor to moderately fertile soil
  • Rate of growth: average
  • Flowering period: June and August
  • Hardiness: fully hardy
  • 9cm Pot

Easily recognised by their ruff of spiky bracts surrounding a prominent , cone-like centre of tiny flowers, sea hollies make a bold statement in a sunny border or gravel garden. This variety is also known as ‘Miss Wilmott’s Ghost’, after the nineteenth-century gardener, Ellen Wilmott, who liked to secretly scatter seeds of the plant in other people’s gardens. The name could equally apply to the plant’s appearance, with its ruff of large, prickly, steely-grey bracts that shine a ghostly silver in the sun. The marbled, heart-shaped foliage is attractive too, and shown off to best effect planted in gravel. Or try this eryngium in bold clumps among grasses. Eryngiums are also perfect for use in dried flower arrangements. This variety is biennial, but self-seeds freely.

Garden care: This eryngium looks tatty after flowering, so cut it to the ground in autumn. Lift and divide large colonies in spring.