Echium is a genus of 40 species of hardy and half-hardy annuals and biennials - the biennials within this family will actually flower from seed in their first year if sown early enough in the spring. However, of all the Echium species in cultivation today, the one that attracts the most interest is the magnificent Echium pininana.
Echium pininana, also called Tree Echium, Pine echium and Giant Viper's bugloss, is a plant native to La Palma in the Canary Islands. Even though its 'roots' are clearly sub-tropical, Echium pininana is now successfully grown in the gardens of Britain and Ireland - be it with a little cultivational help.
|Echium pininana x wildpretii|
When grown from seed, the Echium pininana will produce a stem 2 -3 ft tall, with lanceolate, deep green, rough hairy leaves.
In the follow second or third year, the key feature of this plant is its enormous flower spike which pushes the over height of the Echium pininana to over 12 feet. With this in mind, if you are planting multiple Echium pininana in your borders then they should be planted 4 ft apart.
Echium pininana has long been confused with Echium wildpretii - a rare species with silvery, hairy leaves and shorter, red flower spikes.
However, a hybrid exists - Echium pininana x wildpretii which produces pink flowers. It is a more compact specimen, reaching a height of appropriately 9 ft.
For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO GROW ECHIUM FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW TREE ECHIUMS