Cone-flowers instructions

CONEFLOWER BASICS

Zones: Varies, but species range from Zones 3 through 9.

Height/Spread: : Varieties 2 to 5 feet tall and 1-1/2 to 2 feet wide.

Exposure: Varies by species and zone, but typically thrive in full sun. Some may tolerate partial shade, and in hotter southern climates, some light afternoon shade can prevent burning.

Bloom time: Varies by species and cultivar, but bloom times usually range from June to August or later.

Flower color: Most well-known are the purple coneflowers, but pink, red, orange, white, yellow and green varieties are available.

Types: While the purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is most familiar to gardeners, there are other varieties including E. paradoxa, E. pallida, and E. tennesseensis. All are native to the U.S., found in areas across the Midwest and South. Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, and E. pallida are commonly used in herbal remedies.

Are they deer resistant? Many gardeners report that they are deer resistant. Their spiny centers and strong aroma deter deer. However, if deer are hungry enough, they will eat almost anything. Other animals that may take a taste include rabbits, squirrels and woodchucks.

Do they attract bees and butterflies? If you want to enjoy butterflies and songbirds in your garden plant coneflowers. For weeks, even months, during the summer and fall the blooms and seed heads will attract a multitude of winged beauties. Each composite flower (actually a compact arrangement of ray and disk flowers) offers up a fully loaded buffet table for butterflies. Other pollinators, such as honeybees and hummingbirds will visit Echinacea too.

HOW TO PLANT

When to plant: Varies by zone; sow seeds in spring or fall.

Where to plant: Echinacea should be planted in an area that receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day, as too much shade can result in floppy stems and foliage susceptible to powdery mildew.

How to plant: To plant Echinacea seeds, loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches. Add compost to the top 2-4 inches of soil. Seeds take approximately 3 to 4 weeks to germinate, and you should see true leaves at about 12 weeks. If transplanting, dig a hole twice as wide as the pot and deep enough so that the rootball will be level with the top of the soil.


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