Cone flowers add beauty to gardens

gardeningknowhow.com photo: Large, daisylike flowers of bright golden yellow, orange, glowing deep pink and white with striking dark button eyes. Once established, they produce an abundance of flowers July-August.

From the garden

Cone Flowers Echinacea come in a variety of colors including white. They add a lot of beauty to any flower garden, and they are also very valuable pollinators. Bees love them, and so do butterflies.

They are in the daisy family Asteraceae and very hardy. They grow to 2 feet tall and can withstand strong South Dakota winds. They bloom in mid summer and it is important to deadhead them in June to promote additional blooming.

They are prolific self-seeders and the new plants are easy to dig up and transplant where you want them to be. They do like full sun so make sure you don’t put them in the shadow of larger plants that will shade them from the sun.

They are drought resistant which makes them good plants to put in flowerbeds that you don’t visit often or have limited water access to. Lake cabins are good places to put them where you may visit only on the weekend. Because of the prickly foliage deer tend to avoid them and that also makes them a good plant for rural areas.

Cone Flowers prefer well-drained soil and they tend to thrive in poor soil, but perform better in rich soil. When preparing to plant Cone Flowers loosen the soil with a spade or tiller 12- to 15-inches deep then add in a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch. Cone Flowers really don’t need fertilizer.

The best time to plant Cone Flowers is spring or early summer so they have ample time to take root before the temperatures heat up. Even though they are drought resistant it is best to give them time to establish a healthy root system before July and August.

Make sure you give them room to grow and propagate by leaving 1 to 3 feet between plants when planting them. Seedlings can be dug just after the last frost in the spring. If you are placing a large potted plant in the ground make sure you dig a hole twice the pot’s diameter and cover the root ball before watering well.

If you are a bird lover it is best to leave the seed heads on the Cone Flowers in the fall. They provide a winter food source for birds. Trimming can be done in the spring prior to plants starting to grow for the season.

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