Don't be a Conehead!

So let’s dig up the dirt on the cone flower aka Echinacea.  They are a fabulous perennial (my favorite kind these days, cause you plant once and they come back over and over).  Sometimes people call them a “daisy in a hurry” because of their protruding cone center. They grow July through August as long as you deadhead often. They perfer hot, dry sunny locations, which in the south some of those conditions prove to be a challenge(certainly not as of late). Caution though, you will need to have some good soil, that North Carolina clay is not a welcomed habitat for these babies.  Drainage is the key to long term success for these plants. They propagate by seed, so if all goes well, I will be happy to share at the end of the season. While you will read more about my rabbit nemesis below, other pests of this groovy wildflower include Aphids, Japanese beetles and Sweet Potato WhiteFlies.

You may have heard about the medicinal uses of Echinacea, the roots have been reported to help boost immunity.  But recent research has shown that long-term use does reduce effectiveness.  In case you are into that sort of thing.

On a slightly sadder note, as I was doing my research on this awesome flower, I found out that the “smooth coneflower” (Echinacea Laevigata) is indeed on the NC endangered plant list. The threats to this NC native is from habitat destruction.  As NC develops more of its rural landscape some plants are suffering. There are plans in place to keep this native gem from going into extinction, and since it’s been on the list since 1992, we can only speculate that the plans are working to some extent.  So if you see a native cone flower of any kind…go ahead…make a little home for it.  I know I will.

Back to my garden…

While I will admit the rabbits got my first blossoms in early summer, since then my cone flowers have been producing like a champ. Of course I have not mastered the garden art of coordinating colors in my garden, so you will see I have all sorts…I like to call it a rainbow approach (that sounds so official doesn’t–a sort of technical term–but don’t be fooled, I indeed made it up).

Some of the most unique Cone Flowers I got going on are the “Tiki Torch” and the “Pina Colada.”

Flaming Tiki Torch Cone Flower

If you like Pina Colada's...you will love these coneflowers

I swear to you these 2 plants have kept their blooms even in this crazy heat for well over 2 weeks and still going strong.  Every morning I do my garden discovery walk…there they are still blooming away.

A great addition to your garden indeed! You should grow more cone flowers.

Happy Gardening.

melissa

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