This perennial is semi-evergreen so it can lose some of its leaves in winter. In colder regions or more exposed gardens, it may lose them all, but then fresh new growth appears again in spring.
Position: full sun
Soil: moderately fertile, well-drained soil
Rate of growth: average
Flowering period: May to June
Hardiness: frost hardy (needs protection in winter)
In late spring and early summer, huge candles densely packed with small purple flowers rise above rosettes of lance-shaped, hairy, grey-green leaves. This semi-evergreen biennial hails from Madeira, so it will thrive in hot, sunny conditions. It is tolerant of drought once established, and can cope with coastal conditions - although it should be protected from strong winds. It’s a dramatic plant that can be used to add vertical interest at the back of a mixed or herbaceous border. Otherwise, incorporate it into a Mediterranean-style planting scheme.
Garden care: Cut down flower spikes in autumn, and protect the plant over winter with horticultural fleece.
- Skin irritant