With such a great selection of bloom colours, heights and flower shapes to choose from, Echinacea have always been a favourite of ours at Plant Paradise Country Gardens. They are long blooming perennials that combine beautifully with every plant in the garden. They attract pollinators, bees and beneficial insects. Deadheading increases flower production.
Five steps to establishing and growing any Echinacea successfully, be it a new cultivar or a native, is to:
1. Plant it early in the season so that it has time to grow a large root. This means plant it by at least early August. April, May and early June are ideal months to plant.
2. Prepare your soil. It’s a good idea whenever you are planting anything to amend the soil with organic matter, such as worm castings. Winter wetness and poor drainage can just as easily kill any plant in the garden. It’s all about stopping winter wetness – and if there are no roots to absorb the moisture – the plant will rot. Sandy or clay soil and everything in between, always add worm castings or compost. It’s that easy!
3. When planting, give your Echinacea a head start by using Root Rescue (mycorrhizal fungi, a natural growth supplement) and Gaia Green 4-4-4 fertilizer in the planting hole.
4. This step is the key to building a large root that helps build a long-lived plant. During the first year of purchase (unless the plant has wintered over, cut off any bloom stems right at the crown. I know this is hard, but you’ll need to establish a large root. When a plant is flowering all the energy is going to the bloom – not the root. Don’t leave the old stems on because they act like straws that draw moisture down into the crown every time they are watered or it rains.
5. Wood chip mulch is a bad thing and of course mulch always radiates towards plants. Mulching with wood chips is only decorative. It does not mimic nature. On a forest floor I have never seen plies of wood chip mulch. Mulch will rot the crown of the plant. Plants require oxygen and mulch diminishes the oxygen level in the soil. (Note: We don’t mulch… instead we use worm castings.) If you decide to mulch – Use leaf mulch instead.
The Echinacea featured below are in the 2020 Plant Paradise Country Gardens Catalog. If you have any other requests, please let me know. All of these Echinacea are available for purchase from Plant Paradise Country Gardens. Click on the plant names or photo for more information.