No more coneflowers for me

rouge21_gw(5)August 25, 2012


- e.g. sunflower moth larvae or aster yellows is not uncommon (I have experienced both)

Too many less than stellar performers:

- we all like the PowWow line-up but lately these are the exceptions rather than the rule for echinacea. (We read good things about "Sombrero" and the next season "Cheyenne"...only time will tell if they live up to such promise).

For me garden space is limited and there are so many excellent performing (full sun) flowers that are a much better bet than echinacea.

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Campanula UK Z8

yes, well I am in agreement there - although I have been dithering about buying Cheyanne Spirit seeds. Suspect that seed grown echies will be the only ones I bother with after too many expensive disasters. If I do weraken (i usually do) then I am sticking with the pinks since they truly are reliable troopers.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 7:07AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Sorry to hear they haven't worked out. That is always a disappointment. With so many new varieties coming out you never know if the next one you buy will be the Ultimate Coneflower or a total dud.

I'm having great luck with coneflowers but I have not bought any of the new varieties. Just the standard Magnus, White Swam, and Ruby Star. They are spreading wonderfully and they have transformed my August garden into something really special. I keep moving the seedlings and creating large drifts. I'm very happy with my new coneflower-dominant late summer look!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 9:53AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I have mostly White Swan and Magnus - reliable old standbys. I don't have any of the newer cultivars besides Pow Wow White, which I purchased this year, and Pink Poodle - which most people classified as a dud but I really like it.

With any plants I figure I can't go wrong with the old iron horses, they've been around a long time for a reason whereas I'm generally fairly wary of new introductions.

If you get insect infestations - well, that's not the fault of the plant, it just is what it is and unfortunately it happens, so, yea - if coneflowers are a problem in that regard then perhaps you're better off with something else.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:52AM
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It's odd, but I had decided to write off many of the new Echinacea hybrids last winter after yet another poor performance.
But this year they have been magnificent - blooming and reblooming. They are doing everything they were supposed to. I can only assume that the dry weather agrees with them.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:55AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Saddly, I have had to pull most of my coneflowers due to aster yellows this year.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:09AM
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mxk3 wrote: If you get insect infestations - well, that's not the fault of the plant,

In many instances it is the fault of the plant in that some plants are much more susceptible to disease and pests than others.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:41AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Sorry to hear about the diseased coneflowers. Knock on wood mine are recovering from extensive vole damage, thanks in part to wire cages made out of hardware cloth around the roots! It seems drastic to install these cages, but apparently coneflowers are a vole favorite, and I couldn't do without them.

Karin your Echinacea is beautiful!

I have the good old stand bys too, E. purpurea and 'White Swan'. I've also started some from seed last year 'Primadonna White', 'Bravado' and 'Pow wow wild berry'. They bloomed this year and are doing pretty well.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 4:25PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Hmmm, well, you're right - some cultivars are more susceptible to disease, so I get a lump with a rubber mallet for that statement. The insects though? That I don't quite understand - why would cultivar make a difference?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 6:39AM
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Of course some plants are more susceptible to certain insects than others. I do my best not to purchase plants that have a known history of 'attracting' 'bad bugs'.

mxk3, my original point was that for me it has been my experience that echinaceas are too hit and miss (performance and health).

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 7:56AM
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Campanula UK Z8

Of course, if my late summer garden looked like Karin's, I would be madly reassessing echinaceas in my garden. Very lovely.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 9:46AM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

Magnus has always been a stellar performer for me. This year, its had some issues due to excessive, torrential rain, but in general, a great plant. My only real problem with it is that if I don't get around to cutting down the spent flowers, it's a very heavy seeder.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 7:25PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Thank you Campanula! Reassess is exactly what I did about 6 years ago when I had the sad realization that my brand new perennial garden was chock full of June bloomers. The scene in August was pretty bleak. I had some echinacea and they were among the few plants that brought some life to late summer. Over the years I replaced excessive early summer plants with coneflowers and things have turned around beautifully. Only now, 10 years into making this garden, does the design resonate. And I celebrate the wondrous coneflowers!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 11:34PM
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karin, I do admire your pictures showing your so colorful August garden. Thanks for posting.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 6:51AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Karin, smashing display! Excellent!

I gave up on them a long time ago for several reasons, none of which would be a deal-breaker on its' own, but when added together, I realized I just don't really like them enough to bother. But I've given up almost all "plain green lumps and bumps that make a few flowers once a year." Life's too short to wait for otherwise boring-looking plants to bloom.

Glad other people grow them though. I appreciate the blooms as I drive by, and they probably feel the same way about my yard with all of the wild foliage.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 11:16AM
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I purchased Guava Ice and Southern Belle this Spring. Guava is really strong and fast grower, and it has a pretties flowers. The SB was a bit slow at first, and is started growing just now. First few buds are visible. Hope to catch flowers before frost!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:50PM
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I don't know what happened to mine. Perhaps the threat of death has forced them into bloom. At any rate, 'Marmalade" and 'Summer Sun' have been blooming most of the summer, but look especially good now. I have not had any trouble with the common diseases, but echinacea has not performed the way it was supposed to for several years now. Even Echinacea purpurea, which I have set loose through the fields is having a renaissance, with literally hundreds and hundreds of flowers in bloom this year.
I guess they really do like dry weather.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:22AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Mine have been yanked due to aster yellows as well. I'm not sure yet if I'll replace any of them next year.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:07PM
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I've had Meringue ever since it first arrived. Great little plant, heavy bloomer, all summer. I picked up some potted pow wow this spring and with it came the aster yellow. So the Meringue are gone.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 10:50PM
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I am new and I have no idea what aster yellow is. Hope I don`t get it. Lesley

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 7:58PM
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Karolina11(6b Central PA)

It is a bacterial disease spread by a species of leafhopper. Many plants can get it but coneflowers are susceptible and you can diagnose it on coneflowers usually by green growth on flowers.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 10:21PM
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And there is no doubt that this "yellow aster" is way more widespread than we may think as for sure most gardeners dont realize that "green growth for flowers" is symptomatic of disease. They may just pass it off as the plant continues to thrive i.e. at least the foliage and growth seems fine.

Having said that it has been *my experience* that these affected coneflowers return 'fine' the following spring and do their proper flowering until later in the season...for me it resurfaced in August. Is that your experience also ie the plant survives and reflowers the next spring/early summer?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:24AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

The plant will very likely come back but it will still be infected with aster yellows even if it doesn't show symptoms. I've included a link to an Illinois extension page. You can also google and find many more extension info pages.

Here is a link that might be useful: aster yellows

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 8:09PM
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gringo(z8 VA)

I haven't experienced the aster yellows- yet, anyways. Although I noticed that some of the local Echinaceas at the nursery loooked a bit odd. Whereas, the recent introductions such as 'Sombrero' looked absolutely perfect condition. Last year, I had 'Kim's Red Knee High' & it was stunning. The roots I ordered last spring, simply would not grow & rotted, while the ones at the nursery looked like they'd br hard pressed to produce a single flower, so I didn't bother, not at nearly $20, anyways!
Since I've moved, I'm replacing 'Hot Papaya' as I think it's absolutely great. KRKH is mail ordered too.
I'm not all that impressed with Powow colors as they aren't as brilliant as photos I've seen in -any- catalogs. & as for white, if you want the added factor of sweet scent, go for 'Fragrant Angel', otherwise, one white isn't much different than any other..
But, alot of work & effort goes into selecting a newer Echinacea hybrid, (mainly for the flower?) & maybe they aren't suitable to growing in the considerably wide & varying conditions all across the entire U.S.A

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Aster yellows is very widespread, affects a huge number of plants (really- if you look at the list you kind of want to give up gardening), and there is really no such thing as cultivars that are more or less resistant. It is spread by leafhoppers, which there was a huge population of this year. I would guess 80% of all coneflowers I've come into contact with this year were infected. Not a good situation.

As far as new varieties, they NEED very well drained soils to perform well and overwinter. (This is inherited from the E. paradoxa parent- it likes rocky alpine conditions) Also keep in mind that E. purpurea (one of the parents of most of these hybrids) is not a very long lived plant and that has been passed on to these varieties. 3-5 years is a common lifespan for E. purpurea and it's hybrids.

Hybridizing work continues, and improvements in lifespan are being made through use of other species. I highly recommend E. 'Firebird' as it has E. pallida (a long lived species) in its bloodline. This one has performed very well for me, even in slightly heavier soils. E. 'Phoenix' and E. 'Flamethrower' have performed well also. I'm looking forward to E. 'Sunbird' as it also has E. pallida in the bloodline. The sombrero series is performing well in botanic gardens, I haven't grown them personally but having seen them I can recommend them. Pow Wow are ok, they perform well & I see some color improvement in the strain over what I was seeing in trial gardens, but I'll take Pixie Meadowbrite over it any day.

The Plant Geek

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 10:08AM
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