Echium vulgare

Family: Boraginaceae

Countries: Asia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Denmark, England, Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Wales, Yugoslavia

Echium vulgare is a hardy biennial with hairy stems; plants produce pretty pink buds, which open as sky-blue coloured flowers.  This is a superb plant for a wildlife garden, as whilst it’s blooming, Echium vulgare is a veritable bee magnet!

This is a UK native plant that can also be found growing naturally in the wild in other European countries.  Echium vulgare thrives in areas that are out in the open and warmed by the sunshine.  Growing naturally in grassy areas, banks, and meadows; Echium vulgare doesn’t appreciate being shaded by tall, dense planting – these plants like to see the sunshine.

Echium vulgare favours well-drained soils.  These plants grow happily in sandy, silty, and gravelly soils, as well as on chalk, but Echium vulgare plants flourish in free-draining soils and so they’re very unlikely to do well in heavy clay soils and won’t survive on ground prone to water-logging.  If your soil is heavy, you could always try growing Echium vulgare in a raised bed or in a large container – choose a planter that will accommodate this plant’s long tap root.

Sow Echium vulgare seeds from March to May; if you want to you can make a further sowing from August to the end of September, in the UK.  For best results, sow Echium vulgare direct, if you can.  Alternatively, sow seed in peat free compost and plant seedlings out when they’re young, to allow the plants sufficient time to develop their tap root and anchor themselves into position.

Echium vulgare grows to around 60cm (2ft) tall; although, I’ve found that some of my plants can appear shorter than this, as their stems arch outwards or sometimes lean into neighbouring plants.

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