Plant of the Month
Photos: Rachel Cobb and Sally Sandler
Echium candicans; E. simplex
Common Name: Pride of Madeira; Tower of Jewels
Origin: Native to the Canary Islands and Madeira
Features/Uses: Stunning blue bloom spikes in the spring are the outstanding feature of this shrub. The Tower of Jewels has a white bloom spike that can be 6 feet tall. Seed grown plants have varying shades of blue that range from almost pink to midnight blue. Fast growing shrub is good for back of the border where large filler is needed. The grey green foliage is covered with fine hairs which can be irritating to work around. Pride of Madeira is prone to reseeding, so care should be taken when placing it in the garden. All echiums are great nectar sources for bees, butterflys, and hummingbirds.
Growth Habit: Pride of Madeira is a large shrub 4-6 ft wide by 4-8 ft high. The Tower of Jewels is a biennial, flowering in its second year.
Bloom Time: Early spring to early summer
Cultural Requirements: Tolerates wind and salt air so it is suitable for coastal growing. It tolerates some frost to about 30 degrees. Grow in full sun for best bloom and shape. Echiums have low to moderate water needs so they do well in dry conditions. For the shrub form trim spent blooms and prune lightly to maintain shape. These plants typically live about five years. E. simplex fades after it blooms, but usually reseeds to start the next year’s plants.
Where at SDBG: Entrance and Mediterranean Garden
Also see the full Plant of the Month list