Echium pininana

Echium pininana

Visible now

At over 5m tall, this giant of the plant world is fast becoming a British gardeners’ favourite.

British holidaymakers, desperate for a hit of winter sun, may well come across large echiums like this in its native Canary Islands. Here, it thrives on the wild volcanic slopes as well as private and public gardens. Pollinators love it too, beginning from the bottom where its flowers first appear.

Known in English as the giant viper’s bugloss, you can find this in the Canary Islands section of our Great Glasshouse but you may be able to grow this at home. Possibly because of climate change, this biennial is becoming more resilient to British winters.