Eryngium Species,Alpine Eryngo, Alpine Sea Holly

Eryngium alpinum

Family: Apiaceae (ay-pee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Eryngium (er-RIN-jee-um) (Info)
Species: alpinum (AL-pin-um) (Info)



Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Flowers are good for drying and preserving

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:

Medium Blue

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

South China, Maine

South Lyon, Michigan

Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 1, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Beautiful, long-blooming, good as a cut flower as well as in the garden. Dries well. Exotic looking. The metallic blue of the stem and feathery bracts is hard to capture accurately in photographs. The color is deepest in cool summers.

Grows from a fleshy carrotlike taproot---I don't believe it can be successfully divided. It can be successfully moved in early spring when the foliage is just beginning to emerge. Perhaps it can also be moved in fall after the foliage has died back, but I wouldn't try to move it in summer.

Quite adaptable as to soil type. Tolerant of drought once established. Intolerant of poor drainage/standing water.

Hardy to Z3. Said to self-sow. Not spiny, the bracts are soft.

Rarely available in commerce, though... read more


On Jun 22, 2011, pixie62560 from South China, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is a nice plant if you don't try to move it. I have had not luck removing it from my garden.


On Jun 29, 2005, pokerboy from Canberra,
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a quite unusual plant however as I am a fan of almost ALL blue flowers I quite like this plant. It is unique and most people visiting say "huh, whats that" amazed that there is such a plant. The blue colour is amazing. It is sort of a mettalic blue. Dies of in winter in my yard. Zone 8. pokerboy


On Mar 13, 2005, spklatt from Ottawa, ON (Zone 5a) wrote:

They can also be propagated by root cuttings, in the spring. This is generally thought to be easier than seeds, and less stressful for the plant than division.


On Mar 4, 2002, gringo from Hampton, VA wrote:

Bract color changes to blue after flowering. Most of the seed of this plant is difficult to germinate unless fresh, otherwise cold stratify or sow outdoors in autumn, for germination in spring.


On Aug 8, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

These unusual plants look like blue thistles.
The flowers of Alpine Sea Holly are plume-like rather than
resembling thistles. Plant them in full sun and in a
light, sandy soil. Once the plants are established they
do not like to be disturbed. The flowers may be cut for
drying when they are fully open. If faded terminal
flowers are removed the side branches will bloom.