ECHIUM

If your flower bed is in an open sunny situation and the soil drains freely then this plant is worth considering. It makes a welcome change from the popular range of low-growing annuals, and the flowers which look like upturned bells are fragrant and attractive to bees. The branching stems bear hairy narrow leaves and the long-lasting blooms are borne in dense heads.

VARIETIES: The garden varieties of E. plantagineum have been much improved in recent years. No longer need you keep to the original blue – rose, mauve and white are available. But the blue ones are perhaps the best, and ‘Blue Beddor’ provides deep blue flowers throughout summer or autumn. For a mixture of colours choose ‘Dwarf Hybrids’.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil, but light or medium land is preferred. Choose a sunny spot.

PLANT DETAILS: Height 1 ft.

Spacing: 9 in.

Flowering period: June-October.

PROPAGATION: Sow seeds in August or April where they are to flower. Thin to required spacing.

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