Eryngium - Leavenworthii
This is an attractive annual originating from the North American prairies. This species has the unusual characteristic unlike other Eryngiums, to flower quickly from seed in the first year. Each plant will produce spectacular spiky glaucus foliage which changes to a rich purple colour on the cones and bracts, followed by reddish-purple tinge in the autumn. It is ideal for adding structure to annual borders, as well as making a decorative long lasting cut flower. Height: 50-90cm.
Sow February to April or September for overwintering on the surface of a good, free-draining, damp, seed compost and cover with a fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Seal container inside a polythene bag or place in a propagator at 18-21C until after germination which usually takes 5-10 days. Do not exclude light as this helps germination. Transplant when large enough to handle into 7.5cm pots. Gradually acclimatise plants to cooler conditions for a few weeks before planting out after all risk of frost, 45cm apart. Overwinter September sowings in a cold.