Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Echium wildpretii; my favorite plant in the garden, this week…

This one was a no-brainer, after all every day (above 25 degrees F) is a good day for the Echium wildpretii

After all it can end up looking like this…
…very quickly if overnight temperatures are cold enough (photo from my garden in November 2010 after temperatures below 20F at night and at least 24 hrs of highs not above freezing).

I started winter 2011/12 with two plants, both lived and one of them bloomed in May 2012 (and died a couple of months later, that’s just the way it is with a biennial)…

This is the plant that didn't bloom, if it makes it through this winter will be going on its third year, certain to bloom during the spring/summer of 2013.

Even though Echium wildpretti is a Zone 9 plant and I garden in Zone 8 I don’t think I’ll ever face a summer without one. It grows so fast and has such a strong presence in the garden, I will definitely buy a couple every year. Ideally they’ll live to bloom but if not I’ll enjoy them while they last, plus it's fun to spend a little time now and then on the Annie's Annuals website thinking about what else I might order...

The stats...
Zones: 9 – 11
Height: 4ft – 8ft (including the bloom)
Width: 2ft – 3ft
Full Sun
Flowers: pink
Foliage: silver, gray / blue

26 comments:

  1. Beautiful foliage and towering flower spikes - what's not to love? Great plant!

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    1. I suppose some people wouldn't love the fact that it's not reliably hardy much north of zone 9?

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  2. I'm overwintering a few in pots in the garage. One is looking a bit sad, but I hope they all make it! I want one of those flower spikes -- even a small one!

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    1. I hope they do too, that would be a coup! You'll let us know right?

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  3. That flower spike is gorgeous! What a great photo and great plant!

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    1. Do I see one (or more) in your future?

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    2. There is an Echium, a tiny one, out in the gravel garden. I think I got it from Annie's Annuals, and I think it's Echium russicum. So a different one from yours. I'm hoping it is going to survive our cold snap.

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    3. If it is Echium russicum don't be alarmed if it looks quite dead...it should sprout a healthy crop of green leaves in the spring. Last year I thought mine were gonners, but they went on to be quite beautiful.

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  4. Yeah for Echium wildpretii! I have two going in the front yard (plus an Echium Mr Happy, which is a hybrid) so the spring of 2013 should be a good echium year!

    And I still have seed from the last one that bloomed in our garden. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

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    1. Ah yes...you remind me that I'm praying for lots of little babies to show up in my friend Patricia's garden! Her plant bloomed and stuck around long enough that surely there are going to be a few seedlings (mine fell over and got pulled out).

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  5. So lucky to have an Echium bloom and do well in your garden, and hopefully the remaining one will sail through as well. Both blooms and foliage of this plant are stunning!

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    1. Hopefully...there is another cold spell forecast for next week...

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    2. Funny enough same here, thinking about our tree ferns now, might shove in some more fleece on the crowns...

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  6. The Echium wildpretti is a beauty! I had some several years ago also with those nice spikes, but after all they died like on your second photo. Our climate in The Netherlands is not good, the wet soil is the main problem. But they are so beautiful!

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    1. Wow I'm impressed that you had success, I would have thought it too cold as well. I certainly understand the problem of wet soil!

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  7. I looooooove your echiums too!!!! They are soo worth replanting!!! Kind of like purple cordylines to me. I can't live without em!

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    1. I hope you won't have to replant your purple cordylines this spring...

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    2. They were all lifted and put in pots! I lost all nerve. We are actually forecasted to get quite cold tonight - I hope not but it's already 31F here and completely clear skies. So the purple cordys are all hanging out in the shed/garage right now.

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  8. I wouldn't care if these never bloomed...even the wilty foliage is spectacular. Of course the blooms, looking like something from the age of the dinosaurs, are some bonus.

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    1. To tell the truth Ricki I would rather then never bloomed...but Mother Nature has her ideas of what's best...

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  9. I love your Echiums...so striking, even when not blooming. They're one of the few plants (along with those silvery Verbascums) that I'd almost prefer not to bloom, if it meant I got to enjoy those lovely leaves every year :-) Still, it's a pretty spectacular way to go out, right?!

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    1. Yep...I couldn't agree more...with both points.

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  10. How beautiful !! it's like a feather bouquet. Amazing.

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    1. So true Delphine, and just as soft!

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  11. i had no idea you were zone 8! What a wild pretty thing! the flowers are gorgeous.

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    1. Pretty crazy that we're the same zone ins't it? Goes to show you can't put too much blind faith in that system. (I'm assuming since Pam is an 8 you must be too?)

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