© RHS / Brett Moore / Herm Island

Introducing...

Echium

Botanical name: Echium

Echium are best known for their tall blue flower spikes, which tower above your head in summer. However, they do vary in size and there are many smaller ones to try. The tubular flowers can be blue, purple, pink, red or white, and they provide colour in the summer months. Echium are drought tolerant and are a great source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.

Looks

Echium typically have bristly, lance-shaped leaves. The height of the flower spikes can vary from 50cm (20in) with species like the British native viper’s bugloss (E. vulgare), up to 4m (13ft) for the impressive E. pininana

Likes

Echium like moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.

Dislikes

Exposed, wet and cold sites are unsuitable. Some species (eg. E. wildpretii) can be overwintered outside in milder areas on free draining soil, but others are tender throughout the UK and will need to be kept inside during winter.

Did you know?

Some species (eg. E. pininana) typically live for only two years, dying after flowering; this is known as monocarpy. Thankfully, they often produce a lot of seeds that can be sown in spring to provide new plants for blooms each year.

Growing guide

Browse echium

Echium by hardiness

Echium we recommend

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Useful advice

Bees in your garden

Bees in your garden

Exotic and subtropical gardening

Exotic and subtropical gardening

Seed: sowing indoors

Seed: sowing indoors

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