Echium are used as an ornamental plant in gardens around the world. However not all species are garden worthy with some being regarded as weeds (E. plantagineum).
Originally from North Africa, Southern Africa, Europe, the Canary Islands and Madeira, hence the name ‘Pride of Madeira’ for Echium candicans pictured right. They are used for the bold foliage and the tall flower heads, adding strong interest to the garden.
You would not need to go as far as the Canary Islands to have noticed the towering flower heads of Echiums. Even in cooler climates you will see them growing in protected positions, and in warmer zones they simply thrive.
Grown widely in California, Texas and sometimes Arizona, they can be a little hardier than you may think. Some will have much taller flower spikes than others, all grow easily from seed.
Varieties differ greatly in growing habit some typess will grow to 2m and more so be careful when purchasing, that you have the best species for the your conditions and position.
Seen as hardy in USDA zones 9 – 11, they can be grown in cooler zones down to 6 and 7 if given protection or over wintered indoors.
- Deadhead after flowering to prolong plant life and prevent seeding.
- Echium can be lightly pruned to keep shape if required
- Generally drought tolerant and cope well with coastal conditions.
- All require a well drained soil and a sunny position.
Looking at Drought Tolerant Plants in more detail
- Echium fastuosum – Grows to around 3ft with blue flowers, height depending on cultivar
- Echium wildpretii – The Tower of Jewels with its magenta flowers
- Echium simplex – With white flower spikes
- Echium candicans – The Pride of Madeira with blue flowers
- Echium russicum – Deep burgungy red flowers
- Echium plantagineum – This one can become a weed.