Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Echium Fever Continues...

I’m back at it again this year, loving a plant that’s (mostly) not hardy in my zone. Here is a roundup of the Echium that I’m currently obsessing over, first the surprise. I had completely forgotten this little Echium russicum seedling until weeding earlier this spring. Bought at the Spring 2010 HPSO Plant Sale I had planted it and forgot about it. When a simple tug didn’t pull it from the ground I looked closer and remembered, could it be? Yes and it’s about to bloom…perhaps in time for June’s bloomday!? (I promise to be in better spirits this bloomday than I was for May) A hardy Echium! E. russicum is hardy to at least zone 7. Why is it not more widely available?

Next is a pair of Echium x wildpretii 'Rocket'…one miraculously lived through the winter in the ground…protected with bubble wrap and a over turned terra cotta pot. And one cruised through in a protected container, now planted in the ground. They are both growing like weeds but showing no signs of a bloom, which is fine with me, I like them as is.

Then there is a huge Echium pininana I bought in February at the Yard, Garden, and Patio Show. I could see early on it was pushing out a bloom. It just got taller and taller. And now the buds are starting to open, I hope it lasts for a long long time. Last up is the gorgeous variegated Echium that I bought from Cistus earlier this spring. This is becoming an annual (3 years now) tradition. How could I not? In case you missed it the folks at Annie’s Annuals recently blogged about their blooming Echiums, and asked their fans to share photos: check it out!


  1. I remember being blown away by the flower stalks the first time I saw them at Cistus...but the foliage on that last one upstages eventhose.

  2. E. russicum is TOTALLY hardy -- been fine for me here in zone 5. I recommend dead-heading it after it flowers to make sure it doesn't go monocarpic on you.
    You might also want to look at E. lusitanicum -- it has been mostly hardy for me, though I lost a few this past winter. They're quite easy from seed.

  3. Very pretty! I am lovin that last shot! The combinations are great!

  4. Wow, a variegated Echium, would love one! :)

    Same here, haven't had much luck with getting them to sail through winter planted out. I haven't tried E. russicum though.

    I'm tempted to buy one already in bloom so they self seed here, hopefully some will sprout the following spring.

  5. Love the E. wildpretii, they sort of remind me of a less-rigid Hosta...such intersting form. The variegated one from Cistus is my fave, though...what a gorgeous plant! I actually have seen the E. russicum at both Portland Nurseries locations this spring...I was surprised, I didn't realize there was one that was fully hardy for our zone (and lower), even if short-lived.

  6. ricki, and that is why I buy it every year that I can find it!

    Greensparrow, thanks for the E. lusitanicum tip, I look for them. And I didn't know you could fool with mother nature like that! (deadheading to keep from being monocarpic).

    Candy, thank you.

    Mark and Gaz, that's a great idea. I was lucky enough to have another gardener let me collect seeds when his bloomed. But nothing ever came of them.

    Scott, really!? When? (PDX Nursery). I was just there yesterday and managed to scoop up 4 E. wildpretti for only $3.99 ea, I would have been feeling even more smug if I had got E. russicum too!

  7. You've got a pretty nice Echium collection for zone 8! I do like that variegated one. I saw the Annie's Annuals blog post: those are some amazing blooms.

    I'm remembering a spectacular flower spike about five years ago I now realize must have been an Echium. It was at the home of Deborah, who works at Cistus and lives a few blocks from me. I can't imagine how she got such a huge bloom in our climate - it was like E. wildpretii in shape and size, but a gorgeous bright blue!

  8. Have you given Echium plantagineum a shot? Ooops, Annie's can't ship it to Oregon. Can't wait to see your russicum bloom. I thought mine was dead, but it popped back a couple weeks ago. Hurray for Echiums!

  9. I saw a gorgeous varigated Echium (probably the same kind as yours) in a garden recently that has survived several winters with the benefit of well drained soil and a nearby southfacing rock wall. Your collection looks great! Keep up udpated this summer.

  10. MulchMaid, I suspect Deborah may have been displaying a Cistus specimen brought to near bloom in the greenhouse?

    Megan, ah yes the possibility of an invasive rears it's ugly head again...

    Ryan, you're killing me! Really? They are better plant parents than I am.


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