Marble Leaf Moroccan Sea Holly / Eryngo
Eryngium variifolium, Moroccan Sea HollyPot Grown Herbaceous Perennials
- Colour: Steel blue, white
- Flowering: Jul-Sep
- Foliage: Dark green with silver veining
- Height: 45cm
- Spread: 25cm
- Spacing: 25cm
- Position: Sun
- Soil: Moist but well-drained, light, sandy
Eryngium variifolium Miss Marble
Some plants are the supporting cast of the summer garden - not so Eryngium variifolium Miss Marble - Also known as the Moroccan Sea Holly or Variable-Leaved Sea Holly, Miss Marble quite literally shines in the modern border as well as an architectural or gravel garden.
Introduced in 1997, Miss Marble a great improvement on the ordinary sea holly. It's much more compact, reaching just 45cm tall, forming a neat mound of dark green foliage, each leaf marbled with silver veins, hence the name. From July to September, upright, branched stems carry steel-blue metallic flowers with white spiny collars, surrounded by slims bracts, adding to the overall prickliness.
These angular beauties are very easy to grow, drought-tolerant, so ideal for beginners. Don't cut them back, as the seed head bleaches into lighter shades of brown and buff, creating interest in the autumn and winter border.
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Great In Your Garden...
Miss Marble makes a wonderful sight in warm, well-drained soil in full sun, especially at the front of a gravel garden - this mimics its natural home in North Africa. Contrast them with softer herbaceous perennials such as Achilleas, grasses and the equally architectural Echinops ritro.
However, it is nothing if not tolerant, shrugging off exposed sites and the salt-laden winds of coastal gardens. It will also put up with some light shade but it won't thank you for soggy, heavy soils that don't drain well.
Attractive to bees and butterflies, Eryngium variifolium Miss Marble is a great choice for a wildlife garden, as each individual floret is rich in nectar. The seeds are also loved by birds. Its compact form and drought tolerance make it especially suitable for large container gardens and Mediterranean designs.
Flower arrangers love Eryngiums for dried arrangements - cut blooms before they are fully open but have started to turn blue.
- Colour: Steel-blue flowers with white collars.
- Flowering: July to September.
- Foliage: Dark green with silver veining.
- Height: 45cm.
- Spread: 25cm.
- Spacing: 25cm.
- Position: Full sun or light shade.
- Soil: Moist but well-drained, light, sandy.
Did You Know...
Commonly known as Moroccan or Variable-Leaved Sea Holly, it is unrelated to hollies. It belongs to the Umbellifer family (Apiaceae or Umbelliferae), which includes parsley, carrots and parsnips.
Plant in full sun or light shade in well-drained, light soil. Avoid heavy and waterlogged soils. Add organic matter when planting 25cm apart. Water until established, then drought tolerant. Suitable for containers.
Apply general fertiliser in spring. Generally pest free. Leave flower-heads on. Tidy dead and decaying foliage in early spring. Divide in early spring or autumn, as plants don't like root disturbance.