Pride of Madeira PRUNING and question

piper101(Z 9b So.Calif)April 3, 2008

Hi, Hope you can help. The net and Sunset's Garden book didn't cover this.

A year ago I planted a 5 gal Pride of Madeira. Very nice looking, flowers just peaking out etc. Well, it TRIPLED quickly, flowered great. I knew I needed to move it since I had no idea it would grow so fast. I severly pruned it back so the roots wouldn't have as much to take care of when transplanted. It was transpl. in same bed, just in the corner near a wall. I don't think my husband made a big enuf root ball as it's leaved drooped severely and I thought "she's a gonner". I either pruned it again before or after it recoverd (can't remember the order now). Anyway, when I cut it, it was into what looked to me like dead wood. I stopped.

Now, it's about to bloom again but is very legg-ey looking and I'd like to know if after it's done blooming if I can prune it down to make it "start again" and get it's shape back. But I don't know if it will grow again if I do this. The trunk is about 4" in diameter I'd say. I'd like to make it full again. It appears to flower off the green, new parts but everything I've read never talks about any more pruning than just removing the spent flowers.

What say you all about this? I can provide a picture if that will help. Thanks very much!!!

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Wow, I just went through the same thing. I planted my Pride in a planter in front of my house a couple of years ago. It bloomed nicely then quadrupled in size! It was beautiful, but just got large and leggy. I decided to chop it down to the trunk (which was also about 4 inches) this winter. Well, spring is here and it looked just like a stump. I could barely see some green on the wood. I asked around the nurseries and they said it will grow back but it will take a while since the pruning was so severe.

I thought, what the heck, I ripped it out, tossed it, and bought a new one in a 15 gallon container. I figured, if it grew that fast, might as well start a new one and watch it as it grows.

Also, I have a question that no one seems to be able to answer (except some places on the net). Why is there Pride of Madeira that blooms PURPLE, and one the blooms like a light baby blue? The real world people are thinking its a variety (which there isn't) and the internet people say that its because one is from a cutting (purple) and the other is a seedling (baby blue).

go figure....

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 4:21PM
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I've never had success with radical pruning of Echiums. I also think they grow too rapidly in good soil - the best specimens I've seen were the ones out on the coastal bluffs north of San Francisco were they were just ignored and recieved no summer water, but temps were cool enough that they didn't fry.

I also found the hard way that without good drainage, the roots can drown in heavy rainfall and they will quickly die.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 3:04AM
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I've noticed that about the different colored Echiums, too, mainly where I've seen the bulk of them, over in the Bodega Bay area. From what I remember, the blue-flowered ones were smaller, whereas the larger ones were more purple in color, which might explain the seedling theory.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:10AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Color is variable from seed, but they can be propagated from cuttings if you want a known color. Echium will grow quite large under irrigated garden conditions, and wants to get to be a 6 to 8 foot tall woody shrub if left to its own devices. Light pruning done several times a year, more in the way of tip pinching of live growth, can be used to make it more compact, rather than one severe pruning after it has bloomed. It tends not to regrow well if cut into old woody trunks.

Best to give this the space it prefers, rather than try to hack it to fit a too small location. Give it a leaner soil mix and avoid regular irrigation if you want to restrain its rate of growth.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:57AM
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My question is what to do with the flowers after they are done blooming. Do you trim them? Some of the branches seem to droop with the older blossoms. I have several huge plants that have loads of flowers and don't want them all to droop.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 3:04PM
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Yes, you can cut off the old flower spikes.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 7:39AM
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Unless you want tons of seedlings growing all over you yard, cut off the old flower spikes.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 9:11AM
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Mine is a sport - a beautiful blue - in an unirrigated section of the garden, and is easily 10' wide. I found that if it was cut back hard, but not to the main stem, it would resprout and rebloom. One night dozens of hummingbird moths enveloped the flower spikes - special!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 10:43PM
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I have several young Pride of Madeira that popped up as seedlings. Will these survive transplanting? Is there a recommended time of year to move them?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 9:18PM
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I have a LOT of these on my south facing, frying hot, cut slope, crummy clay soil hillside where the only things that survive are plants too mean and stupid to die. I started off with 4 1 gallon plants. One died. The others set seed. A lot. The seedlings are now covering most of a 1/4 acre hill. I do nothing other than deadhead the flower spikes. They seem to be relatively short lived (5-10 years), they sprawl, they occasionally lose a whole branch that never comes back, they are a local stop for migrating butterflies, they are gorgeous (I started with 3 blue plants and the seedlings are breeding true). In short, my experience is to neglect them!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 7:53PM
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slogal(CA z10a/Sunset 16)

Re: color variation --
I saw one in a nearby town that had pink blooms. It was planted along a driveway in a light industrial area and whenever I would drive by I'd think that I should stop and ask to take some cuttings. Sadly I never did and I think the plant is gone now.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 6:26PM
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Slogal, I wonder if that pink one you saw was E. wildpretii, tower of jewels. They have pinkish blooms.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 8:39AM
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    Bookmark   last Wednesday at 3:24PM
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