Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
For 2008 the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers named Blue Glitter sea holly as the cut flower of the year. In addition to being used as a fresh flower, these stems also make a wonderful everlasting.
Blue Glitter sea holly is named for the glimmering pure blue flowers. These form a spherical flower head that resembles a pin cushion or thistle. The bracts are spiny.
As a fresh cut flower, Blue Glitter sea holly stems have a vase life of about two weeks or so. The stems can be two feet in height. In addition to the colorful flowers, the stems are colorful as well-silver blue. The blooms open at the top of the stems.
Blue Glitter sea holly is used both for its lovely color as well as for
the interesting form and texture of the flower head. This blooms during the summer months from July through September. Very floriferous, this will produce lots of stems for cutting.
Blue Glitter sea holly is very suitable for cutting gardens. It can be grown as a perennial. Because it blooms the very first year from seeds, this can also be grown as an annual. As a perennial, it is winter hardy in zones four through eight.
Seeds of Blue Glitter sea holly can take two to three weeks to germinate. In the cutting garden, this will need full sun and a very well drained spot. It grows best in a poor, dry soil. For cutting gardens, donít overwater these plants. Sea hollies will die if the soil remains constantly wet. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
As you might guess from the name, sea hollies grow well in a light, sandy soil. Being native to coastal areas, they are also resistant to salt spray and salty air.
The plants are vigorous and quick growing. The first flowers will begin to open about five months from the time the seeds are planted.
For dried flowers, harvest the stems when the blooms are fully opened. When drying, no special care is needed. Just hang the stems in a dark dry place where they can air dry.
Blue Glitter sea holly was named a Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner in 2007.
The sea hollies were originally native to Europe and Asia.