Previously called Echium fastuosum, and sometimes known as Pride of Madeira, this soft-wooded shrub is indeed from Madeira. It has long, grey-green leaves and stunning long spires of blue-purple flowers in late winter and early spring. The colour of the blooms is almost iridescent. The shrub grows to about 1.8 m tall and quite wide, and has quite a sculptural shape when in full bloom. The spent flower heads should be removed straight after flowering, to promote compact growth and prevent self-seeding. It grows best in full sun, in a light, well-drained soil. It will struggle in heavy, damp soil. It flourishes in coastal areas, and will only tolerate light frost. After a few years, in the Sydney climate, the shrub will tend to become overly woody, and is best replaced with a fresh specimen. Its blooming season coincides with that of Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii, and the combination of the Echium flowers with the lime-green bracts of the Euphorbia is a wonderful sight. They both enjoy similar growing conditions.
Prolonged heavy rain can cause root rot in this plant, especially if it isn't grown in a very well-drained spot.