By Bonnie L. Grant
One flower that is sure to make jaws drop is the Echium wildpretii of tower of jewels flower. The amazing biennial can grow from 5 to 8 feet tall and is coated in the second year with brilliant pink flowers. If sheer size doesn’t impress you, the silvery foliage and prominent anthers, give the flowers and foliage a sparkle when sunlight hits them. Keep reading for information on tower of jewels plant care.
About Tower of Jewels Plants
This variety of Echium is native to the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco. In this region the weather is mild with sunny warm sea breezes in summer and cool, but not freezing, winters. Echium tower of jewels starts its first year of life as a grayish to silver rosette set low to the ground.
In the second year, it produces a tall, thick flower spire with slightly ragged silver foliage below. The spire bursts with cerise to salmon pink-cupped flowers arranged in rows upon rows. Each of the nearly one hundred blooms has white anthers reaching out from the throat of the flower. These catch the light and along with the foliage, making the plant appear to be dipped in pixie dust.
The plants are not terribly hardy, but a greenhouse is a great method for how to grow Echium. Temperate and warmer zone gardeners should try growing tower of jewels as a centerpiece for the exterior landscape. The Echium tower of jewels flower will give you years upon years of breathtaking beauty and architectural delight.
How to Grow Echium
The tower of jewels plant can survive temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit if given some protection but is generally a warm to temperate weather specimen. Cooler areas should try to grow the plant in a solarium or greenhouse.
The best soil is sandy to gritty and a cactus soil works well for potted plants. Site the Echium tower of jewels in full sun with some protection from the wind.
These plants are quite drought tolerant but superior tower of jewels care will include regular watering in summer to help produce a strong spire that doesn’t tip over.
Echium Tower of Jewels Life Cycle
The smitten gardener doesn’t have to worry in the second year when tower of jewels dies away. After the flowers are spent, hundreds of tiny seeds release to the ground below. Investigate carefully in spring and you will see many volunteer plants, starting the whole biennial cycle over anew.
Growing tower of jewels seeds in colder zones may require sowing in flats indoors at least 8 weeks before the date of the last frost. Lay the seeds on top of the soil, dusting with fine sand, and put the flat on a seed heat mat or other warm location. Keep the medium lightly moist until germination and then ensure the seedlings get bright sunlight and daily water.
Tower of Jewels Care
Moderate water will help the plant grow strong and prevent it from tipping over. You may have to provide a stake if it gets too top heavy, especially in potted Echium.
Don’t cut back the flower until the seeds have had a chance to sow themselves. This plant will become the jewel of your garden and is both rewarding and low maintenance.