Flower Portrait: Echium

Pride of Madeira, Echium candicans, is perfect for adding a touch of drama to both exotic and cottage garden settings. Like all echiums, its flowers are adored by bees and other pollinators. Tall spikes of intense blue blooms are borne on strong branching stems in spring and summer. In milder climates, like Cornwall, it can  grow into a small tree, and can self-seed readily.

echium candicans

Echium pininana is a stunning biennial plant from the Canary Islands. In its first year it forms a low rosette of silver, hairy, spear-like leaves, and then in the second year it sends up a huge spike loaded with small blue flowers. Again in milder regions it self-seeds readily.

And the bees just can’t get enough!

43 Comments Add yours

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    Now that’s a plant which I need to add to my garden wish list. I love helping the bees.

    1. Heyjude says:

      You need space, they take up a fair bit of room, but yes, they are covered with bees.

  2. Denzil says:

    Those are stunning Echiums! Never knew there was such a tall one.

    1. Heyjude says:

      My neighbour had one in the courtyard a few years ago and I was surprised to see one here. I think the tall ones are probably seeds from that one.

      1. Denzil says:

        Can you blow some over here? I would love one of those in my garden.

  3. margaret21 says:

    I don’t think I know this plant – lovely.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Both of these are just outside my courtyard. I’m surprised none have self seeded in my garden.

    2. Heyjude says:

      I first saw them in California.

  4. kzmcb says:

    That’s a beautiful shot with the backlight.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Karen.

  5. restlessjo says:

    Some friends here have one in the garden and have offered a cutting but I keep forgetting to collect it. They grow a bit big for our patio, but we’ll see. Are the anti-inflammatries helping?

    1. Heyjude says:

      I’d think they would be far too big unless you have a big patio.

      I think they are helping,, but I still have a numb right hand which makes writing, chopping, opening jars etc difficult and painful.

      1. restlessjo says:

        It will start off small.
        Get D to open jars etc 🤗💕

        1. Heyjude says:

          Oh, he’s getting a crash course in domesticity 😁 still can’t persuade him to help in the garden though.

    1. Heyjude says:

      They are rather…

    1. Heyjude says:

      They are quite impressive.

  6. Toonsarah says:

    Very pretty, although too big for our city courtyard garden!

    1. Heyjude says:


  7. Jane Lurie says:

    Pretty purples, Jude. Pride of Madeira is prevalent in CA. Stunning. 💜

    1. Heyjude says:

      Yes. CA is where I first saw them, in the Carmel-By-The-Sea mission.

      1. Jane Lurie says:

        Yes! Loads of them there.

  8. beetleypete says:

    That’s a lovely plant, Jude. And the bees need all the help they can get at the moment.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      They do indeed. I haven’t seen many around yet and only two butterflies – one White and one Red Admiral. I’m sure the continuous cold weather has had an effect on them. Hopefully things will improve.

      1. beetleypete says:

        There were lots of butterfiles out on Beetley Meadows today. Not sure of the names, but I spotted three different ones in reasonable numbers. x

        1. Heyjude says:

          That’s good.

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