Monday, May 28, 2012

Echium russicum

     One of the plants blooming in my garden now and which I appreciate more and more, is Echium russicum.  This plant, with its pinkish reddish echium style blossoms, about 2 feet tall, has grown in my deer resistant, drought tolerant front border for 8 or 10 years. Plants in that part of my garden must know how to fend for themselves. They are never watered, and we can go for almost 3 months without any significant rain here in the summertime. I have seen as many as 10 deer grazing in that part of garden at once. So if a plant makes it over the long haul under those circumstances, you know it is one tough mother of a plant.
     Although I have read on the internet that Echium russicum is a biennial, that has not been the case for my plants. The one you see here is a division of my original plant, planted many years ago. I have not found a lot of self sown seedlings of this echium, although that may be because the seedlings are hard to distinguish from normal weeds and get weeded out.  Echiums in general tend to seed about. I have found that this echium does multiply in a fairly controllable way by underground spreading roots with the result that new plants pop up close to the mother plant.  These new plants can be dug up and transplanted to other parts of the garden.
     This echium is not too big-- the flowers you see in the picture are not more than 2 feet tall and the base part of the plant stays low to the ground and does not get very wide. So it is good for the front of a border or a gravel garden where there are not a lot of big billowy plants around.  Hot and dry is good.
     While echium russicum is not commonly found at nurseries, it is available now from one of my favorite mail order nurseries-- Annies Annuals. I highly recommend ordering from them. They send well grown plants promptly and their packaging is the best in the business.

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