echium-vulgare-plViper’s bugloss is an herbaceous biennial native to Europe and parts of Asia where it grows in dry lean soil including waste areas and sand dunes. It has been introduced to North America and is considered an invasive species in Washington state. Viper’s gloss is a member of the borge family (Boraginaceae), which also includes forget-me-nots, heliotrope, and lungwort. The rough oblong leaves are hairy and form a rosette from which the flower spike emerges from summer to fall. Pink buds open to bright blue flowers with protruding stamens. The stamens have red filaments and carry blue pollen. The flowers are very attractive to bees. Although a biennial, plants are best started early and grown as an annual. Several cultivars are available including white and pink flowered ones. The generic name Echium is from the Greek word echis meaning viper and refer to the appearance of the flowers. The specific epithet, vulgare, is from the Latin word vulgis meaning common.

echium-vulgare-fl-detailType: Biennial/annual

Bloom: Spikes of blue flowers with protruding red stamens from summer to fall

Size: 12-31” H x 12″ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average to lean, dry, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 9-10

Care: Deadhead to encourage rebloom

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed

Companion plants: Flax, cornflowers

Outstanding Selections:

‘Blue Bedder’
‘White Bedder’
‘Pink Bedder’

By Karen