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A stunning plant to have in your garden

This article was first published on 13 Sep 2012.

Echium candicans

Echium candicans

A plant with dazzling attitude is Echium candicans. At this time of year it has appealing violet-blue flower spires that reach a full 30cm in height, even though only about 9mm wide..

Flowering in spring and summer, flower spikes will last several weeks but can look untidy when flowering has finished. An attractive display, each flower is displayed on spires by the hundreds - the plant is commonly known as the tower of jewels or pride of Madeira.

Echium candicans has a sprawling habit and can reach a height of 1.5-2 metres. Foliage is grey-green, clustered in large rosettes and hairy. Be aware as the very fine hairs all over the foliage and stems can irritate sensitive skin.

The Echium genus has 66 species and all are native to Europe, Africa and western Asia. Most do well in drier soils with very good drainage, and can suit a coastal site perfectly. Most of the genus are grown for their stunning blue to purple flower spikes

At Dunedin Botanic Garden, E. candicans are growing throughout the rock garden on the hillside of Lindsay Creek. One particularly stunning specimen can be seen under a large pine tree.

Nick Coughlan is a horticultural apprentice at Dunedin Botanic Garden