Family: Boraginaceae
Common Name: Viper's Bugloss

Native to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands, these striking annuals and perennials are grown for their tall spires of blue, purple, red, pink or white flowers massed in bracted, simple or forked heads. The leaves are gray-green and slightly wavy. Echium gives a lovely display but needs to be carefully sited as most grow quite large. Some species tolerate frost, others are quickly damaged by low tempera­tures.


E. candicans (Synonym: E. fastuosum), pride of Madeira, is a frost-tender biennial, to 2.5 m (8 ft), with a wide-spreading habit. The hairy, grayish green, veined leaves form rosettes and the large spikes of rich blue flowers are borne on tall stalks in late spring or summer.


These plants do well in coastal con­ditions where they will tolerate poor, sandy soil, provided they have good drainage and full sun. Grow frost-tender species in a cool, airy greenhouse with maximum light, in pots of soil-based compost. Propagate from tip cuttings taken in summer. These are often difficult to strike. Alternatively, propagate from seed.


Zones 9 or 10; best in a Mediterranean climate of hot, dry summers and cold, wet win­ters.

Echinopsis      Edgeworthia