Friday, April 19, 2013

Echium pininana

Self sown Echium pininana in my garden now

Closeup of stem of Echium pininana showing flowers just starting to develop
     Ever since I saw Echiums growing wild on the coast of California south of San Francisco, I have been trying to get them to grow in my garden.  While some of them are perfectly hardy in our zone 8 climate, such as Echium russicum which I have previously posted about, the most spectacular ones have not proven to be very hardy for me.  That has not been for lack of trying.  I have grown all manner of echiums over the years, including Echium wildpretii, Echium fastuosum (or candicans), and this echium pictured above, Echium pininana.  Over the years I have grown so many echiums that have succumbed to our combination of winter wet and cold that on more than one occasion I have resolved never to try any of these non-hardy echiums again.  Yet I always succumb to temptation, thinking that maybe we will have a mild enough winter that they will make it through and bloom.  That is basically all I want--a one time bloom is all I need.  If they die after that, so be it.  Indeed, the plant pictured above is supposed to be a biennial so I expect it to die after blooming anyway.  The same can be said about Echium wildprettii.  Echium fastuosum, on the other hand, should live longer (although probably not here).
     I have, in fact, had some of these echiums bloom in years past, and the great thing about echiums is that they set copious amounts of seed and I sometimes find seedlings of echiums past in various places in the garden.  Sometimes these seedlings appear years after the mother plant has passed on.  Such was the case with the plant you see in the pictures.  Last year in my front border 5 or 6 of these seedlings appeared and because we had such a mild winter this year, they made it through the winter and now it appears they are going to bloom! Oh joy!
     In a fit of optimism I also purchased and planted Echium wildpretiis and fastuosums from Annie's Annuals last year. These plants are also still alive after our mild winter, but they sustained some damage and do not look so good right now.  I expect them to recover, though, and maybe I will have more echium blooms. Hope springs eternal.

No comments:

Post a Comment