If you’re looking for a striking plant to use either in a Mediteranean or Cottage Garden setting and water availablity is limited then an echium might be right up your alley.

We bought this echium specimen a few years ago and after taking some time to establish is now flowering for the first time. We killed a couple of freebies that friends had given us and even a previous nursery bought one. How?

The first echium we kept in a pot and it got very little light yet copious amounts of water. The second and third were incredibly neglected and competing for space while this one was given pride of place in full sun with minimal watering. And it’s thriving.

The flower colours on our plant are quite insipid and nowhere near as dark as I’ve seen on others. Even recently, I’ve seen a friend’s echium that has flowers with a similar pale purple with the odd random dark purple spire protruding from another direction. I’m not sure why this occurs but am putting it down to the soil pH level for the time being.

Echiums are part of the Boriginaceae family and can be easily propagated from non-flowering cuttings in autumn. They prefer a well-draining soil, that doesn’t need to be too rich in humus, and a minimal watering schedule.

Cut the dead flowers off your echium during summer and prune back hard in autumn to keep its shape. These plants don’t grow well in pots as their 2-3m high and 1-2m wide frame needs to be kept within a spacious garden bed.