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Moderate, Minimal


Perennials, Shrubs

Grown for striking form and flower clusters. All do well in dry, poor soil but need good drainage. All are excellent for seacoast gardens. Flowers attract bees. Give little or no water in mild-summer climates, weekly irrigation during summer in hotter areas.

Echium candicans
Echium candicans

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Echium candicans

From Madeira, as its common name indicates. Large, picturesque plant to 5–6 ft. tall, 6–10 ft. wide, with many coarse, heavy branches. Narrow, hairy, gray-green leaves form roundish, irregular mounds at ends of stems. Great spike-like clusters of 1/2 -in., bluish purple flowers stand out dramatically, well above foliage, in spring. Branch tips and developing flower spikes may be killed by late frosts.

Use for bold effects against walls, at back of wide flower borders, on slopes. Prune lightly to keep bushy. Cut off faded flower spikes.

Echium vulgare
Echium vulgare

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Echium vulgare

Biennial grown as annual. European native blooms first year if sown between early fall and earliest spring. To 1–3 ft. tall, 1 ft.wide. Leaves covered with stiff white bristles; blue, white, or pink flowers in spikelike clusters. Endures aridity, poor soil. Seeds freely and can become a pest if seedlings are not hoed out.

Echium wildpretii

Striking oddity fromthe Canary Islands spends itsfirst year as an attractive, roundish mass of long, narrow leaves covered with silvery gray hairs. It starts to grow the second year. By mid- or late spring, it forms a 6–10-ft.-tall column 1 ft. or more in diameter, made up of manylittle rose to rose-red flowers.When all flowers have faded, the plant dies, leaving behind many seeds. The resulting seedlings may grow and bloom the next year if they are not hoed out.

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