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Will this be the year the Echiums finally flower?

  • Will this be the year the Echiums finally flower?
  • Will this be the year the Echiums finally flower?

Echiums are one of the wonders of the plant world. But, as I frequently say to customers who show interest in them, 'buying one is like a £7.50 bet on the Grand National'. You'll be more than lucky to get it to flower - until this year that is. After an exceptionally mild winter, the Echiums have the best chance in years of achieving some of the spectacular flower displays they produce in their native habitats in N. Africa and the Canary Islands.

In its first year, Echium pininana forms a large low rosette (about 1m across) of silvery-green spear-like leaves. The following year, given the right conditions in a sheltered, south-facing border, this 'base' becomes the rocket launcher for a spectacular tower of blue, funnel-shaped flowers that can reach up 4m - yes a 13ft tower of flowers! Once it has flowered the plant dies and seeds are scattered. These may germinate where they land in milder areas. More likely they will need to be sown under glass in spring, to grow and flower the following year.

If you have an Echium pininana, look out for tell-tale, smaller side leaves near the top of the rosette. These are as sure a sign as any that it is about to 'GO'!

Comments (2)

  1. Grower

    Jeremy Wright

    We have an Echium 'Pink Fountain' which we bought last year from Cannington.
    'Pink Fountain' is a hybrid of E. wildpretii and E. pininana. We nursed it through the winter covered in a muslin tent! It now looks much the same as your pininana, but there are no smaller side leaves.

    Is that a tell-tale sign that it's not going to flower? I hope not ;-(

  2. Grower

    Corseside nursery

    I love these plants as much as the bees exciting to when they flower...i have one seedling which has found its place sticking out of a wall that i hope to flower this year. But as i was sorting out a patch recently i found these babies which will hopefully flower next year...

    • Will this be the year the Echiums finally flower?

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