Daisy dreams with Echinacea
Everybody loves a daisy. It’s a simple flower that has echoes of the flowers we drew as children – a bright yellow centre with even petals arranged around.
One popular daisy that provides a boost of colour and interest later in the summer is echinacea. Echinacea is a native of eastern and central North America where it is found in prairies and wooded areas.
You may have heard of it with reference to alternative medicine. It’s sold by health and wellness retailers as an herbal medicine said to strengthen the immune system and provide relief from coughs and colds.
For most of us, though, echinacea – also called the coneflower – is a pretty flower that sits perfectly in a cottage garden border. Most varieties grow to 60cm (2ft) with some making 120cm (4ft) so they’re a good height to show themselves off in the company of lupins, delphiniums, verbenas, rudbeckia and coreopsis.
You can also use echinacea as a container flower. To get the best performance, use a deep pot and feed regularly throughout the flowering period.
Care of echinacea
- They do well in full sun or partial shade
- Tolerant of most conditions, they do prefer rich, well-drained soil
- Can be planted in sand, chalk or loam
- Prepare the soil with organic compost before planting
- Echinacea do well in drier conditions
- They are heat tolerant so don’t worry about providing shade
- Take off blooms from time to time to prolong the flowering period
Echinacea are generally free from pests and disease, so we’d describe them as ‘easy care’ for the summer garden.
Stocks of echinacea vary from branch to branch, but look out for ‘Delicious Candy’, dazzling fuchsia pink flowers, and ‘SunSeekers’ which offers bright flowers with darker centres. Please contact us if you would like to check stocks before you come.
Echinacea are perennials, so they should pop up again next year – but they can’t be relied on to do so, and many gardeners treat them as annuals.