Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Viper's Bugloss, Blueweed
Echium vulgare

Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Echium (EK-ee-um) (Info)
Species: vulgare (vul-GAIR-ee) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
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:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
Medium Blue

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Terry
Thumbnail #1 of Echium vulgare by Terry

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There are a total of 29 photos.
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3 positives
4 neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral pookha On Sep 8, 2013, pookha from edmonton
Canada wrote:

It is on Alberta Invasive Plant Council noxious weed list

Alas, as it is a top 5 bee plant
can produce 300-1,000 lb. honey & 500-2,000 lb. pollen per acre
BUT they are using Picloram & 2,4-D to eradicate

Neutral rebkah On Jul 11, 2012, rebkah from Village Shires, PA wrote:

Viper's Bugloss used to grow profusely and beautifully at Cove Point Beach, Lusby, MD (along with native prickly pear cactus!) up til about 1990, but has nearly disappeared due to habitat destruction (instead of salty sandy weedy scrubby beachy yards, everybody now has irrigated lawns). I once tried to transplant a few to Levittown PA, but they failed to thrive (soil too clayey and wet, I think).

To my surprise I just discoverd a stand of VB on the dry, gravelly shoulder of Rt. 611 near Doylestown PA (July 2012) The plant obviously prefers truly impossible conditions, but in my experience dies when given normal plant care. If you have some you want to discourage, just baby it. If you want it to grow, plant it in un-amended gravel and sand, ignore it, and fail to water or fertilize. It'll take over and the butterflies and bees will thank you!

Negative Schulzie On Aug 20, 2010, Schulzie from San Francisco, CA wrote:

This plant showed up unbidden in the small conservatory close to my home in San Francisco. It has pretty blue flowers and its leaves and stems are covered with really abundant hair-needles. Bees do love it. has grown amazingly in a short time, and even crossed a standard concrete path. It has buried a small agave. Truly this is a noxious pest plant in this site, and will be removed promptly.

Negative 8491 On Dec 15, 2009, 8491 from canberra
Australia wrote:

Although it looks beautiful in mass as in garygardeners photo. This shows the invasiveness of the plant and can make good grazing land almost useless as it can give problems to some grazing animals. Hence, why it is deer proof, it is declared a noxious weed in Australia and hence the common name Patterson's Curse.

Positive KanapahaLEW On Dec 14, 2009, KanapahaLEW from Alachua, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not found Viper's to be invasive on the very fertile and alkaline soil of the Herb Garden at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. I have also found it to act more like an annual than biennial, flowering within a few months from seed. The blue is beautiful and the flowers are loved by bees.

Negative gthrel On Dec 10, 2009, gthrel from Mount Duneed
Australia wrote:

This plant is a noxious weed in Australia. One of it's names is Patersons Curse. It spreads rapidly in hay and with stock transported to new paddocks. It grows more readily in poor land with low rainfall. The presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids contained in the plant cause cumulative chronic liver damage to stock.

Negative Keystone On Feb 6, 2005, Keystone from Silverton, ID wrote:

Very invasive, pushing out natives Prefers gravelly, sandy soils along riparian areas which aids its spread. Extensive seed bank. It is on several county weed lists and being added to Idaho State weed list. Gerninates spring to fall making control laborous.

Positive CatskillKarma On Jul 13, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

This stuff grows wild all over my yard in the Catskills. It is a gorgeous blue and very vigorous, although it is somewhat prickly. Be careful handling it--it can leave little spines in your skin and cause a rash. It is invasive, and I don't put in my garden beds,but I leave it wherever it pops up and it provides a welcome splash of brilliant color.

Positive jhyshark On Jul 12, 2004, jhyshark from Scottville, MI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I just love this plant! It grows as a weed in my lawn, but I moved some to the flower beds. It is a biennial, so must move the new rosettes to where I would like the plant to grow, but it is so tolerant of abuse that most of these survive even if I break the taproot. Can't beat the true blue of the flowers, and the buds are pink, which yield to the blue when open. Given my poor, dry soil, it's one of my most reliable bloomers. Get's ugly when it's gone to seed, but I just trim it back. Enough seeds always escape to create the next batch of babies.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 30, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant is considered invasive (noxious weed) in 35 states.

Neutral Terry On Aug 4, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Viper's Bugloss is a showy biennial of Eurasian origin, imported to the U.S., where it has naturalized in pastures and roadways.

The plant is covered with prickly hairs. It grows on walls, old quarries and gravel pits, and is common on calcareous soils.

The name Bugloss, which is of Greek origin, signifies an Ox's Tongue, and was applied to it from the roughness and shape of the leaves.

It is a favorite of bees and hummingbird moths.


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

Flagstaff, Arizona
Merced, California
San Diego, California
Gainesville, Florida
Barbourville, Kentucky
Lusby, Maryland
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Scottville, Michigan
Brainerd, Minnesota
Deposit, New York
Jamesville, New York
West Kill, New York
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Southampton, Pennsylvania
Kalama, Washington

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