- Author: Leslie E. Stevens
- Editor: Noni Todd
Pride of Madeira (Candicans)
By Leslie E. Stevens UCCE Master Gardener
Planting Areas: Zones 14 to 24 USDA
Size: 5 to 6 feet tall and wide
Exposure: Full sun
Pruning needs: Prune off spent flowers after blooming. Cut back in late fall to contain size and encourage fuller growth.
Bloom Season: Spring/summer
Water Needs: Low water/drought tolerant. In coastal zones, typically needs no supplemental water once established. Those grown in hot inland areas may require weekly irrigation in summer.
Snapshot: This rapidly growing evergreen shrub is easily recognized by its signature 20-inch, bluish-purple flower spikes that top foliage in spring and summer. The blooms also attract a wealth of bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. Conversely, deer avoid them.
As a native of the Madeira Islands off the coast of Portugal, Pride of Madeira is naturally adapted to California's coastal areas. It does well in drier soils, but requires good drainage. It also typically tolerates short cold snaps between 25-to-30ᵒF.
The shrub's tall upright branches and narrow grey-green foliage make it an excellent background plant in the garden or against a wall. Make sure to give it plenty of room to spread out, since it tends to smother other plants grown in its shadow.
Pride of Madeira also tends to reseed itself. While requiring some additional upkeep, this trait provides free pups to replace this short-lived shrub. Typical lifespan is about 5 years.
When pruning or handling this plant, wear protective gloves as its stiff hairs can cause skin irritation. Also use caution around young children and pets, since all parts of the plant are considered toxic if ingested.