As handsome as these impressive plants are, they can be difficult to locate and expensive to buy. However, they are easily grown from seed.

Sow Echium pininana seed 3mm deep in good seed sowing compost - such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting' - from late May to late July. Germination takes 7-14 days at 18-20 degrees Celsius.

Echium pininana seedlings
When the seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant them into 3 inch pots containing John Innes 'No. 3' compost and over-winter in a cool greenhouse, conservatory or on a well lit windowsill with a temperature of around 7 degrees Celsius. Provide adequate ventilation when the temperature exceeds 13 degreed Celsius.

Plant Echium pininana out the following spring 4ft apart, into a sunny site with a light, dry, well drained soil.

Although this species is proving to be quite cold hardy, its best to cover the base of the plants with a little bracken or similar over the winter.

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