15ft giant viper’s bugloss dwarfs Mitchells’ 7ft yucca

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In Saturday’s Star (July 11) you showcased Brian and Maureen Mitchell’s seven foot yucca and asked if anyone else had grown a giant plant.

Well, at 15 foot and counting I think my echium pininana probably qualifies.

This is a hardy biennial grown from seed. They’ve got some in the Peace Gardens but mine is better.

The alternative names for this plant are as wondrous as the plant itself, giant viper’s bugloss, tower of jewels and pride of Tenerife.

It is also a powerful bee magnet, attracting hundreds of bees all the way to the top.

So if you want to try something different try growing this, but remember it takes two years to flower and may need support against high winds.

Incidentally, the Mitchells’ yucca looks like a Yucca gloriosa or Spanish dagger.

Iif you’ve ever been pricked by its ferocious spiny leaves you will see why.

I don’t know about flowering every seven years but it can easily miss a year or two.

When left to its own devices its trunk will branch and its roots will spread, eventually forming an impenetrable thicket – check out the one at Kew Gardens.

The whole plant is extremely tough and fully hardy, surviving the harshest Sheffield winters and endless droughts.

Gary Crosby

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