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Vipers Bugloss

Hi All,

Just in case anyone is growing this from seed as I am this year, be aware that they don't take kindly at all to 'pricking out' as I've found to my cost. image Out of roughly 60 seeds sown into a small propagator and kept warm for about two months, I started moving my strongest plants (these, Hollyhock, giant sunflowers, Globe Thistle and Teasel so far) into 49 cell windowsill ones, there were 12 Viper's Bugloss that germinated (out of the ~60) and only two of these 12 have survived!

So if you do try, don't use my technique of gently lifting the plant out holding a leaf and teasing the soil away from the roots (worked OK for the vast majority of the other plants I transplanted..) rather try and grab the roots and soil whole and move it that way.

I've planted another 'emergency' batch so hopefully there'll be enough time for these to come through. You live an learn I guess. image

Anyone had any luck with this variety? They're supposed to be brilliant for insects but finding them quite tricky, despite the fact they grow in poor conditions out in the wild.



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,902

    Is it because they don't like being transplanted T. Witch? . I think they have a deep root which is often a reason for plants being tricky to pot on. That kind of plant is can be easier sown direct when the ground's favourable.

    Sown into individual pots might work better - or sow two or three seeds per pot and take out the weakest, leaving the best seedling which would be easier to pot on.

    You could experiment with a couple of different ways and see what works best for your conditions  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,845

    Is this the viper's bugloss that grows wild or the little annual? They both seem to be called Echium vulgare and I've never understood how that can be.


  • I've never tried these personally, but in case it is root disturbance, you could try sowing the seed direct into those biodegradable cells that you plant out whole. Also, they do need ericaceous soil, if i remember right. What sort of potting medium are you using Twitch?

    It sounds like a lovely combination with the Oenothera, Verdun.

  • GrannybeeGrannybee Sunny South EnglandPosts: 299

    True vipers bugloss (echium vulgare I think) is a biennial. If sown this year, it will flower next year. It looks a bit like plantain whilst it grows so beware of yanking it out!  The annual echium known as blue bedder  should grow well from a sowing now.

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  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,845

    I find a lot of that family don't like the pricking out and potting on thing, or growing in pots at all.  Proper VB (biennial native) copes better with being dug up and planted somewhere else than with life in pots, though it prefers to grow where it seeds.

    I must have grown my original plants in pots but never since.

  • GrannybeeGrannybee Sunny South EnglandPosts: 299

    A farmer near me dislikes VB in his fields because they put down a huge tap root and it makes them hard to get rid of. They look very pretty though and bees love them.

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge WearsidePosts: 3,461

    I think this was one of the first plants I accidentally killed when I started planting my bug garden a few years back...

    I thought, 'I'll just move those...' and they promptly died.

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