Mertensia maritima ssp. asiatica
Beautiful Mertensia maritima ssp. asiatica grows wild among the coastal sand dunes of Scotland and the Shetland Islands.
Where it is treasured as a local delicacy.
So fair to say it is well adapted to windy, coastal and sandy conditions.
It is also a spectacular creeping perennial groundcover.
With striking blue-silver, rounded fleshy leaves.
So this foliage alone would be enough to make any gardener lust after Mertensia.
However the flowers are lovely too, with pink buds opening to sky blue nodding tubular bells in summer.
So the combination of foliage and flowers is stunningly beautiful.
Mertensia maritima ssp. asiatica is also a delicious edible.
With a flavour likened to a mix of oysters, anchovies and mushrooms. Hence the common name of Oyster Plant. Though it is also often called Sea Bluebells for obvious reasons.
So Scottish crofters have harvested the foliage for centuries as a great delicacy.
Mertensia maritima ssp. asiatica revels in Full Sun to Partial Shade.
And of course it is immune to wind and salty sea air, given it’s natural seaside habitat. As well as frost hardy.
It also loves sandy, gritty, very well drained soil.
And is drought hardy once established, water-wise with low water-need.
However your treasured Oyster Plant is best grown in a raised pot, as snails love the delicious leaves as much as we do.
So keep it your Oyster Plant up out of their reach.
Where it looks ravishing spilling over the edges of a pot.
Oyster Plant is virtually disease and pest free (except for greedy snails), very low maintenance, and easy to grow.
Perennial groundcover. Evergreen in all but the very coldest areas. Where it may retreat for the winter and burst out again in the spring.
15cm. High in blue summer flowers x 45cm. Wide trailing stems of silver-blue foliage.
SEED SOWING ADVICE: Mertensia maritima ssp. asiatica
INDOORS: First sow the seeds in a punnet, on the surface of good quality seed raising mix.
Then pat the seeds gently to the surface of the mix to ensure good contact.
And barely cover with approx. 5mm. of sieved mix, sand, or grit.
Now thoroughly moisten the sown punnet by standing it in a shallow water bath.
And allow the moisture to percolate to the surface from below.
Then wrap the sown, moist punnet in cling-wrap or a plastic bag.
And place in the fridge (not freezer) for 6 weeks.
Because these seeds need a period of chilling to stimulate germination.
After 6 weeks remove the punnet from the fridge.
Moisten again, and place in a well-lit position (not in direct sun).
It is also beneficial to cover the punnet with a clear plastic lid, to maintain moisture.
Temperatures around 15C. are recommended for rapid and optimum germination.
Seeds germinate in 30-60 days.
It is usual with Mertensia for some seeds to come before others.
Because staggering germination is a normal protective device for this plant.
SEED COUNT: 3 seeds per pack. (Seeds for this beautiful plant are scarce and rarely available).
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