The Echium is a medium shrub that grows to about 1.5m high and wide. I love it for its boldness. It has rather architectural lance shaped leaves in a soft blue-grey and then produces big heads of blue to mauve flowers from early spring right through summer.
As a landscape plant it makes a useful small, buffering screen in the garden, especially if there is a design theme of Mediterranean plants where there might be further blue grey foliage around. It also makes a nice strong contrast with other foliage colours such as darker greens or burgundies. While Echium works well in the landscape as a group planting, it can make an impressive specimen where you want to have a single highlight in the garden – perhaps outside a window or as a focal point somewhere in the garden.
To maintain it as a bushy specimen, it’s best to give Echium a bit of a prune after flowering. Otherwise it can get a bit leggy, though often this can be a feature in itself as it may form some curious shapes in its legginess.
Like many plants from the Canary Islands, Echium is not only fascinating to look at, but is drought tolerant and not very fussy, so long as it gets plenty of sun. This makes it a good candidate in a sustainable garden as it can keep looking good without needing lots of water and attention.
As the Bees Head name suggests, it is also attractive to our little pollinating friends, which isn’t a bad thing unless such creatures make you nervous.