Friday, June 15, 2012

Eryngium "Blue Jackpot"

Eryngium 'Blue Jackpot"

Eryngium alpinum
     There are many Eryngiums on the market, but most of them have disappointingly small and unimpressive flowers. Not so for Eryngium 'Blue jackpot'. This is a plant that I found last year at Swanson's Nursery in Seattle while I was looking for Eryngium alpinum.   It seemed to me very much like Eryngium alpinum so I bought it. Last year the blooms were not very impressive, but that is to be expected because it takes several years for a plant like this to settle in and reach its full glory.  This year the blooms are much larger.  The picture at the top is of one of those blossoms.
     I was hoping to find more plants of this and I was gratified to find it at a local nursery in Poulsbo, a little town near us.  So, of course, I bought almost all they had. The fact that 2 different local nurseries had "Blue Jackpot" means it must be relatively available, particularly if you request your local nursery to find it for you.  I have not seen it yet on any mail order lists. Darwin Plants lists it in their catalogue, however.  Darwin is a wholesaler, selling to nurseries.
     I have looked on the internet, trying to find the story behind 'Blue Jackpot', but I did not find much information. Most of the Darwin plants come from Holland, so my speculation is that this plant is somehow derived from Eryngium alpinum and was perhaps bred for the cut flower trade. Indeed, these eryngium flowers make good cut flowers, lasting a long time and drying well
     The reason I was looking for Eryngium alpinum is because I have a plant, the flowers of which you see in the second picture, of this that I got from Heronswood well over 10 years ago and it has been growing in my front border ever since. The flowers are absolutely gorgeous and whenever it blooms I say to myself that I need more of that plant. Yet Eyngium alpinum is very difficult to find. The only place I have seen it listed is on the Dancing Oaks website.
     Eryngium alpinum (and 'Blue Jackpot') should be grown in full sun in well drained soil.  As I mentioned, I have grown alpinum in my front border where it is very near the trunk of a Eucalyptus and it receives no water in the summer.  I would also not crowd your Eryngium alpinums--give them their own space. I have tried to grow them from seed, but have had no luck. Fortunately, they are easy from root cuttings.  This year when I moved a couple of these plants, I cut off some 2 inch pieces of root and stuck them in the ground, and lo and behold, new plants of eryngium came up! How cool is that?

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