Echinacea: growing in the garden, types and varieties
Flower echinacea (lat.Echinacea) belongs to the genus of perennials of the Aster family, or Compositae, which includes 9 species. Echinacea is native to eastern North America. From the Greek language, the name of the plant is translated as "hedgehog, or prickly, like a hedgehog." The most famous species in the genus is echinacea purpurea, it is also rudbeckia purpurea, which is widely used in folk and traditional medicine, as well as in ornamental gardening.
For the first time, Karl Linnaeus described Echinacea in 1753, referring it to the genus Rudbeky, but after forty years, Echinacea was singled out as a separate genus, since there were noticeable differences between these two plants.
Planting and caring for echinacea
- Landing: in spring or autumn.
- Bloom: from July to September.
- Lighting: bright sunlight.
- The soil: dryish, nutritious, well processed, containing a small amount of lime.
- Watering: frequent and profuse in the evening.
- Top dressing: rotted compost with ash twice a season: in spring and autumn.
- Reproduction: dividing the bush in April or during leaf fall. Echinacea species can be propagated by seed.
- Pests: bugs, slobbering pennies and slugs.
- Diseases: powdery mildew, cercosporosis, septoria, viral infections.
Read more about the cultivation of echinacea below.
Echinacea are perennial herbaceous rhizomatous plants with straight, rough stems, reaching a height of 1-1.5 m. The basal wide oval leaves of Echinacea, serrated at the edges, are located on long petioles, and the stem ones are lanceolate, alternate, sessile or almost sessile. Inflorescences consist of large baskets, which in turn are composed of marginal ligulate flowers of red, white or pink color and median tubular flowers, red-brown or dark red. Echinacea fruit is a tetrahedral achene.
When to plant
Echinacea is planted both in spring and autumn. The process is usually preceded by such a procedure as dividing the echinacea bush. You can, of course, grow a plant from seeds, but the generative method of reproduction is used exclusively for growing the species Echinacea, hybrid varieties reproduce vegetatively. So, find a brightly lit place for echinacea with fertile, deeply cultivated neutral or slightly alkaline soil - too wet or light sandy soils of echinacea will not work. If the soil is acidic on the site, you will have to add lime to it.
How to plant
Wells for echinacea are dug 5 cm deep at a distance of 30 cm from each other - this is for planting seedlings, and for the divisions, the depth of the hole should be slightly more than the root system of the seedling. Put some compost on the bottom of the holes, and only then plant the echinacea. After planting, the site is watered. If your planting material is in a container, then the hole should be larger, about 40 cm.Fill it with a third of a mixture of sand, compost and garden soil in equal proportions, and then carefully transfer the seedling into the hole along with an earthen lump, fixing it at that depth on which he grew up in a container.
Echinacea Garden Care
Growing echinacea is not tiring at all, but it still requires attention. First, Echinacea needs to be watered often and abundantly, and it is better to do this in the evening. But the most important thing is to keep the area clean - to remove weeds immediately after they appear. From the second year of life, Echinacea needs to be fed with rotted compost with ash - this will give it the opportunity to bloom more luxuriantly. Fertilizers are applied twice a season: in spring and after flowering. If you do not need seeds, cut off wilted inflorescences with part of the stem to the first green leaf.
Reproduction of echinacea
Most often, echinacea is propagated by dividing the bush, especially since this can be done both in spring in April and in autumn during leaf fall. The first time you can divide the echinacea bush is when it turns 4-5 years old. The plant must be dug out carefully so as not to damage the rhizome, then the bush is divided so that 3-4 renewal buds remain in each part. The landing is carried out in the same order and according to the same rules as the initial landing.
The species Echinacea, as already mentioned, is propagated by seed. The large seeds of Echinacea are sown directly outdoors in spring as they germinate best at 13 ºC. After sowing, the seeds are lightly sprinkled with a thin layer of garden soil. But it is better to grow seedlings from seeds, since barely hatched shoots of Echinacea are too tender and fragile for unstable spring weather.
Seeds are sown in February-March in boxes or containers to a depth of half a centimeter, lightly sprinkled with soil on top of them and moisten the sowing from a sprayer. Germination even at the optimum temperature for echinacea will have to wait a long time, sometimes up to one and a half months, but when the seedlings appear, grow and get stronger, they are planted in open ground, after which their care consists in watering, weeding and loosening the soil on the site.
In the first year, seed-grown echinacea will not bloom, it will only grow a rosette of leaves 15-20 cm high, but next season you will surely see a charming bloom and hear the pleasant aroma of echinacea exuding its inflorescences.
Pests and diseases
The plant is rarely sick, and all its troubles usually happen due to improper care. In hot summers with frequent rains and temperature fluctuations, as well as from too abundant nitrogen dressings, echinacea can get sick with powdery mildew - a dangerous whitish bloom will appear on the shoots, leaves and flowers. You can destroy the fungus by treating Echinacea with colloidal sulfur or Bordeaux liquid.
Sometimes echinacea suffers from fungal diseases of septoria and cercosporosis, which appear as spots on the leaves, weakening the plant and leading it to death. If the disease is detected at an early stage, you can save echinacea by removing the affected areas, but if the disease has taken effect, you will have to resort to treating the plant with fungicides.
It happens that echinacea is affected by viral diseases, from which the peduncles are deformed, the leaves of the plant turn yellow and dry. Sick specimens must be urgently removed from the site and burned, and the place where they grew must be disinfected with a strong solution of potassium permanganate. There is no cure for viral diseases yet.
Sometimes bugs, slugs and slobbering pennyts harm Echinacea. It is better to collect slugs by hand, and as a preventive measure, you can scatter nutshells over the area, which will prevent gastropods from moving. Insects are destroyed with insecticides - Actellik or Karbofos.
All these troubles are very easy to avoid if you strictly follow the conditions of the plant's agricultural technology, especially since planting and caring for echinacea in the open field is not so burdensome.
Echinacea after flowering
How and when to collect seeds
Echinacea seeds are harvested at the end of the season when they ripen on the bushes. However, they do not all ripen at once, so the collection of seeds is carried out gradually. When you see that the middle of the flower has darkened, put a glove on your hand and collect the seeds from the center of the basket, then clean them of the remains of tubular flowers and dry them. Echinacea seeds quickly lose their germination, so it is better to sow them immediately.
Preparing for winter
Echinacea is a fairly cold-resistant plant, but in a winter that is too frosty and snowless, it can freeze out. Colds are especially dangerous for plants of the first year of life. To prevent echinacea from dying, cut off all the stems at the end of October, cover the root collar with compost, and then cover the area with echinacea with dry leaves or spruce branches.
Types and varieties
There are nine types of echinacea in nature, but most of the plants of this genus grown in culture are varieties and hybrids of Echinacea purpurea.
Echinacea purpurea (Echinacea purpurea)
Perennial plant, reaching a height of 100 cm. Its stems are straight, rough, basal leaves are broadly oval, sharply tapering to long winged petioles, collected in a rosette, stem leaves are also rough, lanceolate, alternate, sessile. Inflorescences-baskets consist of purple-pink ligulate flowers up to 4 cm long, pointed towards the apex, tubular flowers located in the middle, red-brown in color. The best varieties:
- Granatstern - Echinacea up to 130 cm high with baskets 13 cm in diameter with slightly lowered purple ligulate flowers with two teeth at the top and brown tubular flowers forming a convex hemisphere up to 4 cm in diameter;
- Sonnenlach - the height of this plant is about 140 cm, baskets up to 10 cm in diameter consist of dark red lanceolate reed flowers up to 3.5 cm long, ending in two or three teeth, and a convex brown hemisphere of tubular flowers.
Echinacea Sunset (Echinacea x sunset)
A series of hybrids between Echinacea purpurea and paradoxical, developed by Richard Skoll. These hybrids combined all the best qualities of both types - large baskets, curved petals, strong branching stems, exquisite colors of mango, mustard, peach, strawberry, amazing aroma. The tubular petals are henna-colored.
As a result of intensive breeding work, varieties with purple, white, orange, pink, yellow and reddish inflorescences have been bred. We offer you the most popular varieties of Echinacea garden:
- Yulia - belongs to the series "Butterfly Kisses". This dwarf echinacea, reaching a height of only 45 cm, has bright orange flowers that open in early summer and do not disappear until the end of the season;
- Cleopatra - the variety is named after the bright yellow butterflies. This is a plant with baskets of bright yellow color up to 7.5 cm in diameter with horizontally located reed flowers - they look like the sun in a child's drawing;
- Evening Glow - blooms in baskets with yellow ligulate flowers with an orange stripe with a pinkish tinge, the center of tubular flowers is a dark cone;
- Cantaloupe - has the color of this particular vegetable: a double row of reed petals looks like a pinkish-orange frill, and darker tubular flowers form a shaggy hemisphere;
- Passion Flute - unusual echinacea: the reed flowers twisted into a tube are golden-yellow in color, and the tubular center is greenish-mustard. This variety belongs to the Lets Buggy variety series, it is drought-resistant and unpretentious in care;
- Double Scoop Cranberry - An easy-care, drought-resistant, cranberry-colored beauty that catches the eye and attracts butterflies - incredibly good in a bouquet.
Echinacea properties - benefits and harms
Echinacea herb contains polysaccharides, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, hydroxycinnamic and organic acids, phytosterols, resins and essential oils. The rhizome also contains essential and fatty oils, resins, enzymes, macronutrients in the form of potassium and calcium and trace elements selenium, silver, zinc, manganese, molybdenum and cobalt.
Echinacea purpurea preparations have antiviral, antimicrobial, wound healing and antifungal effects, strengthen the immune system, and help with physical and mental fatigue. By drugs, we mean juice, decoctions, tinctures and extracts of Echinacea purpurea. Tincture, for example, has the ability to heal burns and increase potency. In folk medicine, the juice from the fresh inflorescences of the plant heals wounds, and the application inside accelerates blood coagulation.
Echinacea purpurea is popular in many countries. In Germany, echinacin is used to treat angina, tonsillitis, chroniosepsis and other inflammatory diseases. In Russia, Professor S.A. Tomilin, who believed that the medicinal properties of echinacea are not inferior to those of ginseng. We offer you recipes for echinacea preparations that you can prepare yourself.
Tincture: cut off the echinacea flowers, fill a half-liter jar with them under the twist lid, fill them up to the top with vodka, twist the jar and put it in a dark place for 40 days, then drain the contents and consume 15 drops in a third of a glass of water or tea half an hour before food for depression, overwork and infectious diseases.
Decoction of roots: pour a tablespoon of chopped roots with water in an amount of 300 ml, boil in a water bath for half an hour, leave to brew until completely cooled, strain and take 1-2 tablespoons 3-4 times a day before meals for chronic fatigue, colds and acute infectious diseases.
Echinacea preparations can cause allergies in some people. It is not recommended to use them for pregnant and lactating women, as well as for those who have leukemia, multiple sclerosis, collagenosis, progressive tuberculosis or individual intolerance to preparations from the plant. For those who do not have such contraindications, we recommend that you consult a doctor before using echinacea medications.
- Read the topic on Wikipedia
- Features and other plants of the family Asteraceae
- List of all species on The Plant List
- More information on World Flora Online
- Information about Garden Plants
- Information on Perennial Plants
- Information about Herbaceous plants
- Information about medicinal plants
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