Wednesday 10 June 2015

Echium pininana: phwar

This has been my best ever year for Giant Echiums. I currently have about 13 flowering, the largest being approx12ft tall. Each a giant column of flower, much loved by the bees.

Catching the evening sun
I grow them as much for the foliage as for the flowers, each one making a tall exotic mound of foliage to gather energy before flowering after 1-3 years. This enormous amount of energy then killing the plant.

They actually come from La Palma in the Canary islands where they are threatened in the wild due to habitat loss of their native laurel forests. Surprising to a gardener who grows them and is amazed at how their seeds get, and germinate everywhere!


The cold is their biggest enemy as bad winters can either kill it outright or just take out the growing point. This can be solved with some protection, particularly of the growing point. If the growing point is damaged the plant will still flower but it wont grow tall. Personally I havent had much success with growing them in pots...

They also hate being transplated. I find I can only transplant them when they are young seedlings/plants. Take care when digging them up trying to get all their long root/disturb them as little as possible. Then take off half the leaves, water well and leave to sulk/die for a few days. If young they usually perk up, good luck with anything bigger than a seedling.

A fabulous plant to grow if you have a more sheltered garden, or want an amazing foliage plant.


  1. That's amazing having so many all in flower!

  2. They are magnificent ! Sadly my two died , although I,d put them in a nice sunny spot , they got all the run off of rain from our Summer house roof . I must get some guttering up on it and a water but . I think once you,ve got Echiums they seed themselves where they want to be ...... and then you have them forever : ) I love to watch the bees spiral up and down those towering spires .

  3. I have tried these once, but seeing yours makes me want to try again.

  4. Wow! Fantastic Echiums!
    Good luck with your NGS preparations ! We had ours yesterday so we are totally exhausted today! We were so lucky with the weather as we had a nice fine day - sandwiched in between two very rainy ones. It is hard work but very exciting - and it is the best spur to get all those garden jobs done !!