This tall skyscraper of a plant is surely something that we could only believe could come from a boldly imaginative architect such as Norman Foster....but no, Echium 'Pink Fountain', a hybrid between the fabulous E wildpretii with its four foot, fat red spike and the magnificent blue E. pininana was achieved in Devon. The result is a gorgeous 38cm (15in) wide, tapering tower of delicate pink flowers.
Showing the best qualities of its parents, Echium 'Pink Fountain' is undeniably an eye stopper. A magnificent inflorescence with dense panicles of pink flowers borne above branches of dusty linear leaves. The rosettes of large leaves are attractive even as a non-flowering plant and the flower spire grows to between one to three metres (3 to 9ft) when grown in mild areas so it is worth waiting for.
It needs to survive two winters before coming into flower and requires a partially shaded spot and always moist, slightly peaty, yet well drained soil. It will tolerate dappled shade.
When in bloom, it is a magnet for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, on a sunny day, as you approach the plant you can hear the hum of hundreds of bees feasting on the flowers.
Sowing: Sow in late spring to early summer.
Sow 3mm (1/8in) deep in good seed sowing compost from late May-late July.
Germination takes 21 to 45 days at 21°C (70°F)
When large enough to handle, transplant the seedlings to 7.5cm (3in) pots and over-winter in a cool greenhouse, conservatory or on a well lit windowsill with a temperature of around 7°C (45°F). Plant out the following spring 1m (3ft) apart, into a sunny site with well drained soil.
They can also be grown in 30cm (12in) pots to flower in a conservatory or cool greenhouse.
Although this species is proving to be quite cold hardy, its best to cover the base of the plants with a little bracken or similar to protect it from severe frosts> Keep dry over winter if possible.
Be careful when handling this plant and consider using gloves. As with most of the Echium family, the leaves have tiny allergenic hairs that may prove an irritant in some sensitive individuals.
Beds and borders, Cottage/Informal, Drought Tolerant, Greenhouse, Low Maintenance, Planted in groups, Sub-Tropical, Wildflower.
Echium 'Pink Tower' is a hybrid between E wildpretii x Echium pininana bred in Devon. E. pininana is native to La Palma where it is a highly threatened species in the mountainous laurel cloud forest, while E. wildpretii is endemic to the island of Tenerife, and is found mainly in Las Cañadas del Teide.
The stately towers of a number of Echium species came to English gardening first in the Scillies, where they slowly colonised the lanes and front gardens near the famous Abbey Gardens on Tresco. Visiting Cornish gardeners fancied growing it, and this spectacular tourist happily jumped to the mainland.
The genus Echium is named from the Greek echis meaning "a viper," it is thought to derive from the shape of the seed, which resembles a viper's head.
E. wildpretii is named for Hermann Josef Wildpret, the 19th century Swiss botanist, while E. pininana is named for the botanical description "pinnate" which describes the arrangement of the leaves on either side of the stem.
The common names are Tower of Jewels, Red Bugloss, Tenerife Bugloss or Mount Teide bugloss. The Spanish word for this plant is tajinaste.
The name bugloss is of Greek origin, from a word signifying an ox's tongue, and alluding to the roughness and shape of the plant's leaves.
The plant belongs to the borage family, Boraginaceae.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 25 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 200 seeds per gram Family Boraginaceae Genus Echium Species hybrid Cultivar Pink Fountain Common Name E. wildpretii x E. pininana. Tower of Jewels Other Common Names Red bugloss, Tenerife Bugloss or Mount Teide bugloss. Hardiness Tender Perennial Hardy Minimum temperature: -5°C (23°F) Flowers Pink Natural Flower Time Summer Foliage Silvery-grey linear leaves Height to 4m (12ft) Spread 90cm (3ft) Aspect Full sun. Soil Moist soil, Coastal Germination 21 to 45 days at 21°C (70°F)