Echinacea

Common name: Cone flower

Echinacea purpurea is a hardy perennial closely related to Rudbeckia.

The purple flowers, with cone-shaped orange centres are 75-100mm (3"-4") in diameter and appear from July to September.

 

Regular dead heading can prolong the flowering season.

The plants grow to around 900-1200mm (3ft-4ft) high and should be planted out in a sunny location.

purpurea will tolerate partial shade.

Established plants are drought tolerant but will perform better if watered weekly during the growing season.

Cultivation

Week 8: Take root cuttings if weather and ground conditions permit.

Insert 50-75mm (2"-3") cuttings into trays containing equal parts (by volume) peat and river sand, and place in a cold frame to root.

Pot them up or place them in a nursery bed when the young leaves appear and grow on until planting out time.

Week 12: Sow seeds in pots/trays of seed compost and germinate at 13°C (55°F)

Germination should take about 7-10 days.

Week 15: Prick the seedlings out into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost.

Week 17: Place seedlings in cold frame to harden them off.

Grow on until planting out time.

Week 18: apply a liquid feed every few weeks particularly if it turns dry in May and June.

Week 40: Plant out seedlings 500-600mm (18"-24") apart in well drained fertile soil with a pH of between 6 and 7.

Ensure that they are not planted deeper than they were in the pot, err on the side of shallower rather than deeper!

Although quite hardy do not plant in known frost pockets.

Week 42: Every three to four years divide established plants and replant in new location immediately.

Week 44: Cut down stems* of established plants to ground level.

* Spent flowers can be left on plants to allow birds to feed on the seeds during the winter months.





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