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Annual Biennial

Echium vulgare
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

viper's bugloss

E. vulgare is an erect, bristly biennial to 75cm, with lance-shaped, hairy leaves and dense cylindrical spikes of bell-shaped violet-blue flowers in early summer

Other common names
adderwort
blue devil
see moreblue thistle
blueweed
bugloss
cat's tail
North American blueweed
snake flower
viper's grass
viper's herb
Synonyms
Echium wierzbickii

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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
1–2 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Blue Green
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

West–facing or South–facing or North–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Boraginaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Columnar upright
Potentially harmful
All parts may cause mild stomach upset if ingested, contact with foliage may irritate skin. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Echium can be annuals, biennials, evergreen perennials or shrubs, with simple, coarsely hairy leaves and funnel-shaped flowers borne in panicles or dense spikes in summer

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in a moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Suitable for annual border or wildlife garden

Propagation

Propagate by seed

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Coastal
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

Prone to slugs and glasshouse whitefly

Diseases

Generally disease free

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