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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Plant Review: Echium vulgare Dwarf Hybrids

Chiltern Seeds who sold me the seed are lyrical about these. Strangely enough they're pretty lyrical about just about all their thousands of seeds so is the praise justified? my answer has to be "Yes, in part". They certainly throw up  a good number of pink, blue and white flowers and some of them change colour as they age.

They get quite bushy although definitely dwarf. If you look carefully, you;ll see a dandelion being smothered.

They are inclined to wander - if you expect your plants to be self-tidy, don't grow this one - it's more a "cottage garden" sort of plant. Here's an example of an escape bid.

 Flowering started in early June and hasn't stopped yet. The flowering "system" is a bit unusual - some plants work on what I call the firework rocket scheme - stems shoot up, explode and quietly fall back to earth. The Echium system is to grow a stem,open a pink flower, change it to blue and then grow a bit more of the same stem leaving the older flowers to die and form seed pods
Typical Echium flowering stem

A minority of the flowers are white
 It's a hairy plant that might irritate the skin but it thrives on neglect, sun and drought. I may grow it again - anything that thrashes dandelions gets my vote!

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