Tower of Jewels

Echium wildpretii

Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Echium (EK-ee-um) (Info)
Species: wildpretii (wild-PRET-ee-eye) (Info)
Synonym:Echium bourgaenum
Synonym:Echium wildprettii



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



This plant is resistant to deer

Other details:

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

This plant is monocarpic

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anthem, Arizona

Apple Valley, California

Arcata, California

Arroyo Grande, California

Benicia, California

Brentwood, California

Calistoga, California

Clayton, California

Concord, California

Davis, California

Emerald Lake Hills, California

Encinitas, California

Fairfield, California

Ferndale, California

Granite Bay, California

Jamul, California

Lompoc, California

Mckinleyville, California

Mission Viejo, California

Moss Beach, California

North Highlands, California

Reseda, California

Richmond, California

San Jose, California

San Leandro, California

San Marino, California

Santa Clara, California

Sebastopol, California

Stockton, California (2 reports)

Sutter Creek, California

Vista, California

Winters, California

Wailuku, Hawaii

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Austin, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 2, 2014, Domehomedee from Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I guess that's why they call it "beginners luck". I did transplant seedlings with success and even put in two that had outgrown gallon pots in the ground with success. The two larger ones I transplanted didn't bloom this year as they were supposed to, they are still alive and doing fine, I'm hoping for blooms next year. I think I'll pick some place and toss out some of these extra seeds, although I am hoping for a few volunteers next spring. Maybe the trick is growing them in jiffy pots so you don't have to disturb them, just plant them pot and all.


On May 1, 2013, dserrano77 from Chapel Hill, NC wrote:

Last year I got one from Annie's annuals on a lark. We had a relatively mild winter in Chapel Hill, NC (zone 7/8 boundary), but there were several weeks with lows in the low 20s F / highs in the 30s-40s F and plenty of winter moisture. There were also a few nights that dipped into the upper teens. The plant made it through the winter unscathed and is preparing to flower. I suspect that if positioned properly this plant is hardier than commonly thought.


On May 3, 2012, All_Is_HIS from Stockton, CA wrote:

I spent a lot of time researching this plant to find out it's name and orgin. We have 2 plants over 9 ft tall and they are certainly amazing. They almost look like something out of a fairytale book. Upon my research (not knowing anything about this plant) we grew by seedling and amazingly sprouted these 2 plants. I took pictures and sent them to various nurserys and bingo we got a hit and we were told they were called echium wildpretii, "tower of jewels". They attract bees lot's of them- after reading these post we will save the seeds and try to grow more, lot's more. They began to flower around March temperature around 60's to 70's full sun. These plants are a sight to see and neighbors have come over to inquire of them and of course the name fits well "tower of jewels"!


On Feb 28, 2012, IRC from Concord, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

First time I grew this plant it was a volunteer from some nursery dirt I picked up. I was going to pull it but decided to see what it would turn into. Glad I did. It ended up being just over 10' tall and covered in flowers. It attracted both bees and hummingbirds however the hummingbirds didn't spend much time at the plant because it seemed like the bees kept annoying them. There were so many bees that at times we could hear them buzzing around the plant from inside the house with the windows shut. I did not water it during its lifecycle and it didn't seem to be affected by any pests. A wonderful carefree plant. I've grown it every year since in various places in my yard with great results. Seems to do well in all soils, with and without watering though it does seem to grow taller in more ... read more


On Oct 28, 2011, echiumfan from Matthews, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Zone 7b

I currently have sprouts of echiums Pininana, wildpretii and fastuosum growing in my garage. So far so good. Is anyone else in zone 7b growing this plant? I would like to know what works and what doesn't. Failure is not an option. All comments are welcome.
Well "failure" showed me a thing or two as I watched in horror as one by one my Echium turned grey and died. I suspect humidity and/or a fungus. Out of 12 only 4 survived. I lost all my Pininanas. Only Pride of Madera and Wildpretii are left. This is their year to bloom so I am excited. The Pride of Madera I collected seeds from one located at the Golden Gate Bridge. Very special.


On Jul 25, 2009, MEHGardener from Spokane, WA wrote:

My dad grew this plant in Redwood City, CA in the Sixties. It was a traffic stopper. Thousands of seeds were produced -- they grew into beautiful, tall biennual plants. J. Hudson Seedsman, in Redwood City, carries the seeds. I tried them a few years ago here in Spokane, WA and got nothing. I may try again as they are just gorgeous. Try eremurus lilies in the north if you want something similiar that will survive colder weather. It's not the same but they too are lovely!


On Jul 3, 2007, birdgrrl from North Highlands (Sacto), CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I started these from seed early summer of last year. The ones I planted out died in the killer frost even with mulch. The smaller ones in pots lived on the patio (covered nightly) over the winter and were planted out in mid-March this year. They have branched out and spread into 3' X 3' plants, but have not flowered yet. I started them last year knowing they were biennials. I grew one about 8 years ago, but it did not branch out; just grew straight up. The stalks have to be staked well or they fall over. People stopped in the street to look at it. Words cannot describe how beautiful it is. It makes tons of seeds, and they were easy to start. When it blooms, I will send a pic.


On May 5, 2005, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is an amazing plant when it finally flowers (guess that happens every other year)- I have seen these grey, tall, weird plants at the Huntington gardens for several years... most have fallen over by this time of the year, but this time they finally flowered. Amazing. Grown in the drought tolerant garden, I assume these plants are extremely drought tolerant.

I finally obtained a small plant, about 1' in diameter (looked a bit like a puff ball- nearly a complete sphere) in a gal pot. Planted it in the cactus garden and it barely grew over the following 12 months... but then, in April the following year, it shot up, growing over 1" a day and is now, only 6 weeks after it started growing, about 6' tall and an impressive tower of flowers, arranged on unfurling flower stalk... read more