Pride of Madeira blooms through spring.

This is most certainly something to be proud of. Pride of Madeira, Echium candicans (or fastuosum), can bloom perfectly blue. Varieties that bloom white or lighter lavender blue are rare locally. Feral specimens might exhibit such floral color variation though. Bloom occurs only annually, but can last through spring. Butterflies and bees are very fond of it.

Pride of Madeira occasionally self sows, but is not too aggressively invasive. It performs exceptionally well within coastal climates. Feral specimens on inaccessible coastal cliffs are only briefly scruffy after bloom. Deadheading within home gardens is tidier and limits seed dispersion. Moderate watering enhances foliar color. Excessive watering rots roots.

Small new specimens of pride of Madeira grow fast, but perform for only about five years. They generally get about six feet tall and eight feet wide. Cool or foggy coastal weather promotes taller and more vigorous growth. Warm exposure might promote more compact growth. The narrow and grayish leaves are rather raspy. ‘Star of Madeira’ is a variegated and compact cultivar.


14 thoughts on “Pride of Madeira

  1. Oh wow! That is a beautiful plant and a lovely colour! Echium vulgare grows wild here and I have planted some in my garden, but it will not get taller than about 60 or 70 cm and is not as impressive as that one!

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    1. It performs remarkably well on the coast, and self sows to a limited degree. It supposedly has potential to naturalize. I have never seen it migrate far from where it was planted though. Echium pininana does the same. I thought that it was a bit more prolific, but I am not so certain now. It might have been more common where I remember seeing it when I was a kid only because more of it was originally planted there back then. Its single stalks got quite tall and onto Highway 1 during storms.

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  2. Love them. We can grow them here in coastal south west England and usually it is the pininana variety – huge, but gorgeous. We’ve tried them in our garden but had no luck so far – I think the soil is too heavy, or maybe too acid.

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    1. Yes, that is the species that I remember from the coast of San Mateo County! It does not seem to be so common now, so must not have naturalized aggressively.


    1. Echium wildpretii is not as common here. Echium pininana was formerly more common, and what we knew commonly as tower of jewels. It is blue and more slender.


      1. Like paint colors? While ‘trying’ to select paint for a windowsill in my former home, I selected ‘Sage’, not because I believed it to be the best color, but because I thought that it was second best to a color with a name that I found to be too silly. I do not remember it now. At the time, I did not want to tell my neighbors that I selected it. Fortunately, ‘sage’ was a good color.


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