Echium fatuosum – Pride of Madeira
Dense spikes of purple/blue flowers rise above hairy grey-green leaves in late spring.
This is a spreading evergreen herbaceous perennial subshrub that grows to about 2½M. It is used to rather less water than it will usually get in Karin’s garden, where it can be rather too vigorous. It is best pruned lightly after flowering. It is very popular, as are all Echiums, with bees and butterflies. It has the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) fro the UK Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
E. fatuosum comes from the island of Madeira, where it grows on rocky mountainsides. It thrives in coastal locations and has now been designated as invasive in California.
Soil / Aspect:
E. fatuosum requires a well drained site, in full sun. There is really no compromising on this! It will survive light frosts, though there may be some slight browning of exposed leaves that grows out quickly in spring.
To prolong its life and to mintain as compact a shape as possible, you should lightly prune after flowering. E. fatuosum does not come again from old wood. So, unless you are removing a branch back to the main trunk, you should prune to leave healthy leaves on a stem. When a plant gets too leggy, you can propagate by cultivating seedlings that have already successfully overwintered.