Pride of Madeira – echium candicans

Outside my patio door I check to see if the blooms have exploded yet – they are most majestic things appearing at the top of grey/green stems that appear to have come from another planet.  I have long admired these plants when I see them at the beach in San Francisco but now they are in my back yard!!  It doesn’t get better than that.

This native to Madeira and the Canary Islands inhabits open coastal bluffs and hillsides. Pride-of-Madeira is a common landscape ornamental requiring a summer source of moisture in inland areas, but can escape cultivation in coastal regions.  Our only concerns in the summer is giving it a break from the hottest part of the sun and making sure that it is in an area that drains quickly and not compact.

It is a wonderful attractant for bees and birds as well as butterflies.  It is hardy to about 25 degrees but mine has a southern exposure next to the house and seems to perk along just fine.  It can get up to 6 feet across so make sure you allow it plenty of room.  Along the coast it divides rapidly.  Some seedlings are coming up in the area beneath the plant and I’m anxious to see if I can bring this wonderful plant to other areas and a few good friends.  I’ll let you know how that works out!

When you look this plant up on the U.S. plant map you find it only in the state of California.  So try one out and have fun with it.  I have a friend in Nevada City that has had one for years.