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Mutant Coneflower

Posted by chris_in_the_valley z7 TN (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 16, 11 at 13:23

Planted 3 of the new Pow Wow Wild Berry coneflowers last year. Only one bloomed and it was gorgeous. This year all three are blooming abundantly. Problem is, one of the plants bloomed with big healthy looking centers and no petals on about 2/3rds of the flowers. Slowly they are putting out anemic looking petals, one petal at a time. No evidence of the crown of petals as they first form. You know how echinacea send up that crown of pale green petals that slowly lays down and turns pink? None of that.
What has been your experience with plants that do such strange things? Is this condition permanent? Should I keep around a flower that is all brown fuzzy centers (and I'm talking tons of brown fuzzy centers.) What do you figure would happen if I took a cutting from the part of the plant that blooms normally?

Certainly I'm taking a wait and see attitude, but I wanted to know your experience.

Cross posted in Cottage Gardens.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Mutant Coneflower

if you could post a shot or two, that would help.

off hand i would say it is Eriophyid mites causing the distorted crowns. Check around the internet for imagery. I periodically get them on my collection. Per other sites, they say to remove the head and then in the fall destroy all leaf litter at the end, since the eggs overwinter their. This year i am trying a bayer systemic product to combat them. Will have to see if it helps.

As long as you aren't getting the green colored petals (instead of pink) and the crowns aren't green as well.. this shouldn't be asters yellow.. which would mean you destroy the whole plant.

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