Pacific Coast Gardening forum: Echium wildpretii

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Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
May 9, 2011 6:37 PM CST
I've not been allowing myself to go to nurseries or buy plants....BUT...I had this one before and lost it before getting seeds from it. Got two today and I hope they grow up to look this good.....
http://www.anniesannuals.com/plt_lst/lists/general/lst.gen.a...
edited to add....echiums, cistus and salvias, those are my babies. My echium Mr Happy will flower this year, he's at about 8 ft tall now....can't wait!
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Lynda
Wildomar, CA Zone 9a
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quiltygirl
May 29, 2011 10:30 AM CST
Oh my, what a gorgeous, fun plant! I have never seen one of those, although have seen what I believe to be Pride of Madeira blooming on the way to my DD's school. I went to DG's plant files and saw a good write up on this by palmbob. I hope it is 'kosher' to quote his comments:

This is an amazing plant when it finally flowers (guess that happens every other year)- I have seen these grey, tall, weird plants at the Huntington gardens for several years... most have fallen over by this time of the year, but this time they finally flowered. Amazing. Grown in the drought tolerant garden, I assume these plants are extremely drought tolerant.

I finally obtained a small plant, about 1' in diameter (looked a bit like a puff ball- nearly a complete sphere) in a gal pot. Planted it in the cactus garden and it barely grew over the following 12 months... but then, in April the following year, it shot up, growing over 1" a day and is now, only 6 weeks after it started growing, about 6' tall and an impressive tower of flowers, arranged on unfurling flower stalks that are themselves arranged in a spiral pattern around the plant. Bees are swarming this thing and it's quite a sight. Sadly I know it will die soon after, but perhaps seed will germinate and it will show up somewhere else?

It rained late in the season (May) and the plant was obviously too top heavy to deal with it... and crashed. Recommend, if you water this plant (and it's extremely drought tolerant so no need to when flowering normally), don't water the crown/flowering part of the plant.

These plants appear to monocarpic... all flowering individuals are dried up deceased skeletons just 2 months later... so how do they reproduce?

Here's how: later in the year- once flowers done, they dry up, and the entire tower usually falls over (I staked mine up however). The flower parts dry up and turn brownish, and all end up having a small black seed in the middle of them, about 1-2mm in size. I guess as they fall, the seeds are dispersed (or eaten) and they spread that way.

I cut off the flowering portion of my plant, since the part below seemed healthy still, and I wanted to see if it would live another year and flower again. To my surprise, it did flower again, but middle of the summer. I am sure the entire plant is a goner, now, but if you don't mine haveing a hacked off tower in your yard for a few months longer, you might get a second flowering out of your plant.

Sure enough, by the end of August I had to dig up the carcass and toss it. However, literally thousands of seeds have fallen in the cactus garden... we'll see if any of them make it.

A word of caution: the dried flower parts are worse than cactus spines; do NOT handle them without gloves or some protection. They easily penetrate skin and are very difficult to remove and quite irritating. 'They' are gazillions of itty bitty little spines that aerosolize as well as adhere to all skin surfaces... so breathing with protection might be recommended, too, when removing one of these dead stalks.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
May 29, 2011 11:02 AM CST
So, it's echium wildpretii /Tower of Jewels that you have? Yes, they scatter their seeds and produce seedlings...but I had one flower this last year, though not well and it's left me no seedlings.. Yes, all of the echiums are drought tolerant. I had echium pininana this last year and it has not left me with any volunteer seedlings either.. I've read that the echiums can cause problems with allergic reactions in handling for some people, but I haven't had any problems with that. My echium Mr Happy is now about 9 ft tall and I can't wait to see what he looks like in flower. The variegated echiums, 'Star of Madeira', have really taken off and I suppose I'd best try cuttings of those. I usually don't bother with cuttings of the echiums, but think I will have to with that one.I'll need to check online and see what results from seeds of the variegated form. I'm absolutely in love with the echiums!
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Lynda
Wildomar, CA Zone 9a
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quiltygirl
May 29, 2011 5:47 PM CST
Sorry for the confusion. I do not have any echiums, just looked them up and sent the quote from Palmbob. I have admired the smaller, pride of madeira versions and would like to have some. I like the idea of very fast growth too!
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
wcgypsy
May 29, 2011 6:15 PM CST
Well, Lynda...I have some if you want them, but you have to promise to plant them where the horses won't kill them....lol..
They do grow fast, the gophers don't eat them, rabbits don't eat them, very drought tolerant when established and they're beautiful...what more could you ask for?
LMK.....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Lynda
Wildomar, CA Zone 9a
Image
quiltygirl
Jun 11, 2011 9:04 AM CST
Sorry I have not gotten back to you and your offer. I would love to have some echiums. I have been looking at where to re-home those horses. Any takers? No, seriously, DD is not really interested in them anymore and balks at taking care of them. There really is not a market to 'sell' those hay-burners and it is chancey for them to fall into the hands of bad folks when you list them for free in places like craigslist. I wonder if there is a place somewhere on cubits or DG to make an offer of these 'fertilizer producers' (see, it is all in marketing).
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
wcgypsy
Jun 11, 2011 9:47 AM CST

Horses can be a problem right now, it's true. So many people who can no longer afford to feed and care for theirs. Reins is a program located here in Fallbrook using horses as therapy..you might check with them re: their donation program.
http://www.reinsprogram.org/support-reins/donate-a-horse
Also perhaps check with the Helen Woodward Center. They would possibly both be good sources for seeking other reputable programs if they themselves are not able to take the horses.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jan/30/helen-woodwar...

I have 7 echiums potted right now, but they're still small enough to dig and pot easily so you're welcome to as many as you'd like....LMK and we'll set a day when we'll both be in Temecula......
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
wcgypsy
Jun 11, 2011 10:01 AM CST
Lynda, also check with Singing Wolf about homes for the horses.....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Kathleen/KaperC
N San Diego County, CA (Zone 10b)
Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America Region: California Hummingbirder Orchids
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KathleenC
Jun 13, 2011 12:44 PM CST
Lynda, tell me what kind/age horses you have. My neighbor is a horse owner and I can spread the word to her, too.
Kathleen
[url]http://www.mcelrea.org[/url]
Please and thank you cost nothing, but mean so much!
Name: Lynda
Wildomar, CA Zone 9a
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quiltygirl
Jun 16, 2011 10:23 PM CST
Thanks Sherry and Kathleen. Ours may be too spunky to therapeutic horses. The pony we had to put down 3 years ago would have been a good candidate though, so sweet.

Horses:
Ginger is a Quarterhorse/Arab, about 17 years old. Here are a couple photos. 3 years ago when D was in 4H. Ginger does not REALLY like to jump for DD though. 2nd photo when she was begging outside the slider when they were loose in the yard in Dec.

Thumb of 2011-06-17/quiltygirl/aad964 Thumb of 2011-06-17/quiltygirl/c3ff12

Colora is short for Color Doesn't Matter as she was bred to be a Paint and ended up with just her sable brown color. Her owners weaned her early and were going to let her die. She came to use at 8 mos old and was the size of a large Great Dane. I believe she is a Thoroughbred breed. She is 6 years old and saddle broke and rideable, but needs more manners. The first shot is the day she came to us. The second photo is a year and a half ago, loose in the yard and coming to check out what DD is building.

Thumb of 2011-06-17/quiltygirl/b05e68 Thumb of 2011-06-17/quiltygirl/10527e

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