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Echium: The Pride of Madeira in Your Pot and Garden

by Eva


Echium: The Pride of Madeira in Your Pot and Garden

Echium, also known as Viper’s Bugloss or “Pride of Madeira,” is an incredibly beautiful endemic plant with the scientific name Echium candicans. This perennial evergreen shrub has silvery, fuzzy, elongated leaves with prominent veins. Its flowering starts in spring and lasts until summer, producing impressive, long, spike-shaped inflorescences in purple-blue, which attract bees and butterflies. This shrub has long stems of soft wood and can reach a height of up to 2.5 meters.

Echium thrives in sunny spots with well-drained soils and is particularly resistant to coastal areas and rocky soils. It is a Mediterranean plant that can be found either individually or in clusters, offering a unique aesthetic presence in the natural environment.


Detailed Description of Echium

General Characteristics:

  • Family: Boraginaceae
  • Genus: Echium
  • Common Names: Viper’s Bugloss, Blueweed, Tower of Jewels (depending on the species)
  • Origin: The genus Echium includes plants mainly found in Europe and Macaronesia (Canary Islands, Madeira).


The genus includes various species, such as Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss), Echium candicans (Pride of Madeira), and Echium wildpretii (Tower of Jewels).


  • Height: Can range from 30 cm to 3 meters, depending on the species.
  • Leaves: The leaves are elongated, lance-shaped, and slightly hairy.
  • Flowers: The flowers are tubular and come in various colors such as blue, pink, red, and purple. They usually bloom in spring and summer.


Echium Cultivation and Care


  • Requires full sun exposure. Needs at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.


  • Needs moderate watering. Water when the topsoil has dried. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.


  • Prefers well-drained soil. Slightly sandy soil is ideal. Can tolerate poor soils but not water-retentive ones.


  • Prefers temperatures between 15-25°C. It is heat-resistant and can withstand dry climates.


  • Use a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 months during the growing season (spring and summer). Fertilization can help produce more and more vibrant flowers.


  • Remove wilted flowers and leaves to encourage new growth. Lightly prune to maintain its shape and prevent diseases.


  • Can be propagated by seeds or cuttings. Seeds can be sown directly into the soil in spring. Cuttings are taken in summer and rooted in a slightly moist and sandy substrate.

Problems and Diseases:

  • Generally resistant but can be affected by aphids and spider mites. Use biological insecticides or soapy water to combat them.


Incorporating into Garden Decoration

Focal Point:

  • Larger species like Echium wildpretii (Tower of Jewels) can be used as focal points in flower beds or gardens due to their impressive height and beautiful flowers.

Combination with Other Plants:

  • Combine Echium with other perennials and shrubs to create a colorful and varied landscape. Plants like lavender, rosemary, and thyme can complement Echium, as they have similar light and water requirements.

Rock Gardens and Dry Gardens:

  • Echium is perfect for rock gardens and dry gardens where water needs are limited. Use stones and gravel to create a natural environment that enhances the plant’s appearance.

Creating Borders:

Pots and Containers:

  • Echium can also be grown in large pots or containers, which can be placed on patios, balconies, or house entrances. Ensure the pots have good drainage to avoid root rot.


Practical Planting Tips

Soil Preparation:

  • Mix the soil with sand or gravel to improve drainage. Add compost to improve the soil’s texture and fertility.


  • Plant Echium in spring or autumn when temperatures are mild. Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball and plant at the same depth as it was in the nursery pot.


  • Keep the soil slightly moist until the plant establishes itself. Then, reduce watering. Remove wilted flowers to extend the flowering period.

Echium, also known as the Pride of Madeira, is a stunning and versatile plant that can enhance any garden or pot arrangement with its vibrant flowers and striking appearance. Thriving in sunny, well-drained environments, Echium is not only a visually appealing addition but also a resilient one, capable of withstanding coastal and rocky conditions. With proper care, including moderate watering, appropriate soil, and regular pruning, Echium can flourish and become a focal point in your garden. Whether used as a centerpiece, combined with other plants, or grown in containers, Echium offers a unique and colorful touch to any landscape.

I hope these tips help you beautifully incorporate Echium into your garden!

















Images via: Pinterest

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