The Q&A Archives: Drooping Pride of Madera

Question: I have a Pride of Madera that came up volunteer and bloomed out beautifully this year. Unfortunately the spikes are so tall and topheavy that they all fell over and, even with staking, it doesn't look good. There are many of them around our neighborhood and nobody else's seem to need staking and are all sticking up nice and proud. Mine is in full sun, so it can't be lack of light. Is it possible to pinch the spikes back when they are younger to keep them from getting so long?

Answer: It is possible to pinch back the tips of the stems in early spring to produce a bushy, less tall plant so you might want to try that. The most common reason for a plant to grow tall and lanky is lack of light but since yours is in full sunshine, I doubt that's the reason. Since your Pride of Madera (Echium) is considered drought tolerant, I wonder if you're giving it too much water and/or fertilizer? Both will encourage fast growth, which can sometimes develop into that tall, lanky look. Even if you don't intentionally feed it, if it is in close proximity to a lawn or other plants you regularly feed and water, your Pride of Madera may still be getting more than it needs. Keep that in mind this year and watch what happens around the vicinity of the plant. You may have to move it if it seems to be getting too much care.

Best wishes with your garden!

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