To explain Pride of Madeira’s attributes as anything other than stunning doesn’t do the plant justice. You’ve probably heard that the list of features prior to — purple flower spikes, mounding habit, low water usage, coastal tolerant, sage green foliage — but once you’ve seen a Pride of Madeira and its charms, you’ll never forget it. Such as the island it evolves from, Pride of Madeira allures from both near and far.
GARDENIA-Sharly & Tanya Illuz
Botanical name: Echium candicans (syn. Echium fastuosum)
Common name: Pride of Madeira
USDA zones: 9 to 10; hardy to about 25 degrees Fahrenheit (find your zone)
Water necessity: Small to none
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature dimension: 5 to 6 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide
Benefits and tolerances: Flowers attract bees, birds and butterflies; deer resistant; coastal and drought tolerant
Seasonal interest: Evergreen; blossoms spring through summer
When to plant: Plant seeds in spring; plant cuttings in midsummer.
Caution: Pride of Madeira can irritate skin. Wear protection, including gloves, when handling it.
Brian Maloney Design Associates
Distinguishing traits. Even without the massive terminal flower spikes, Pride of Madeira’s striking kind and attractive leaves fill the garden and complement other plants yearlong. Woody stems project, though loosely, outside, finished with narrow pet leaves growing to the endings. Bountiful flower clusters arrive at spring, beckoning bees, birds and butterflies into the garden.
CARL BALTON + ASSOCIATES
How to utilize it. Bold colors and loose-bounding forms interpret nicely in coastal Mediterranean gardens, making Pride of Madeira a natural fit. Pair it with other bold-colored plants, like bougainvillea, or with like-minded dusty green and purple shrubs, like lavender.
Plant it toward the back of beds in order to not block other daintier plants. Most homeowners plant Pride of Madeira on hillsides and slopes, that can be akin to the native habitat.
Caution: The plant does reseed, and it is advised to not plant it near some riparian or habitat restoration zone. The plant isn’t a rampant invasive, nevertheless; the California Invasive Plant Council lists the statewide effect as restricted.
Planting notes. Provide complete sun, nominal water and well-drained soil. Pride of Madeira prefers drier climates but thrives in temperate states with no threat of extreme temperature swings.
Cut back the plant in fall, after flowering, to maintain a healthy, bushy form and encourage new growth.
Pride of Madeira reseeds freely, that can be useful, as it isn’t the most long-lived plant; it’ll fill in if the parent plant dies. You might even let seed heads dry on the plant and collect them to plant someplace in your garden or to prevent unmonitored spreading.