Echium candicans, commonly known as Pride of Madeira, is an evergreen, mounding, rapid-growing, biennial or short-lived perennial subshrub that typically matures to 5-6’ tall spreading to 6-10’ wide. It is endemic to the island of Madiera in the Canary Islands, where it grows on rocky cliffs and terraces in the Central Mountain Massif at elevations ranging from 2,500’ to 4,600’. It is a shrubby, spreading plant. In the first year, each plant produces a basal rosette of prominently veined, narrow, lanceolate to elliptic, hairy gray-green leaves (each to 6-10” long). In the second year, woody, unbranched, spire-like flowering stalks rise above the foliage rosette to 20” tall, each stalk bearing from late spring through summer showy cylindrical terminal panicles (to 12” long) of small but abundant narrow bluish-purple to white flowers with protruding reddish stamens. Flowers give way to nutlets. Borders. Cottage gardens, wild gardens, slopes, hillsides, and informal naturalized areas. Best grown outdoors in moderately fertile, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates temperatures to as low as 20-25 degrees F. Tolerates average soils. As a biennial, this plant will produce a basal clump of foliage the first year from which rise flowering spikes in the second year. Not only are these plants ornamentally gorgeous but they are also drought tolerant, deer resistant, and hardy to salty winds as they are native to Mediterranean climates. Hardy in zones 9-12.
Growing Instructions for the Pride of Madiera
The seeds like well-drained soil and full sun. Plant in potting soil with compost around 1/8-inch deep, and put a thin layer of sand over the top to anchor seeds in place. Mist lightly each day, and maintain a consistent temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the course of germination. The seeds germinate in 2-3 weeks. Use a heating coil beneath planting trays if necessary.