Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eryngium 'Big Blue'

Closeup of Eryngium 'Big Blue'

Eryngium ' Big Blue'
     Last year I decided I needed to plant more Eryngium alpinums in my front border, but I searched in vain to find them.  One person I called was Nils Sundquist who owns Sundquist Nursery on the Kitsap Penninsula, not too far from us.  Nils sells many of his plants wholesale to the local nurseries and they are all well grown and in at least gallon containers.  I knew that if he had what I wanted, he would probably have a large quantity of them and they would be good plants. 
     When I asked Nils about Eryngium alpinum he said he used to carry it but it wasn't as good a 'doer' as other eryngiums, so he no longer had it.   It is true that E. alpinum is a little more finicky than some eryngiums, but in my opinion it is well worth putting up with that for the beauty of the flower.  He said, however, that he had a relatively new eryngium called 'Big Blue' which originated from Blooms of Bressingham, a well known perennial nursery from the UK which had an increasing presence here in the US.  He recommended it and so I purchased 10 or 15 of them and planted them throughout my front border. 
     Since last summer was when they were planted, they didn't do much last year, but this year they are just coming into their peak of bloom and you can see the result in the pictures posted above.  These were planted in full sun, with no supplemental water in the summer, even when they were just getting established and they all survived and did well.
     I would have to rate 'Big Blue' as my number 3 favorite eryngium, after alpinum and Blue Jackpot (both of which were discussed in an earlier post).  I think it is a better plant than Sapphire Blue (which I discussed in yesterday's blog), although that is a close question.  Big Blue has slightly larger flowers than Sapphire Blue, although the difference is slight, and Sapphire Blue's flowers are slightly more soft, but again that is a very slight difference.  The foliage on Big Blue is a significant improvement over Sapphire Blue, however.  Sapphire Blue's foliage is rather nondescript and messy; Big Blue has neat foliage with white markings on it.
     While the flowers on Big Blue are not as good as those of  E. alpinum, the way they are held on the plant and the mass quantities of them that the plant produces do make a striking component in a perennial border.  Also, I would surmise that Big Blue is an easier plant to grow and that it does better in the crowded conditions of a border than does alpinum, so I would have to give a thumbs up to Big Blue.


  1. Hi, Linda!
    I just found your blog and I must say that I am in love with "Big Blue"! Would it grow in SW Florida? My father is an avid gardener and I would love to surprise him with some of these!
    Thanks for your wonderful blog!

    1. Hi Eve- I have no idea if Big Blue will grow in SW Florida, but my philosophy is why not try it and see? Linda