HELP... My Echinacea Purpurea Fell Over... What Should I do?

mt_keg

We have been having some strong winds in Knoxville recently and I noticed the other day that my "Ruby Giant" was leaning over... It has a butt load of flowers on it and a ton of buds!

What should I do to fix it??

Thanks for your help!!

MT

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Comments (18)
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Iris GW

I would just gently stake it up. They sell small stakes with circular holders at both Lowes and Home Depot that you can use.

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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

A second on esh_ga's recommendation. It's called a "plant prop" by at least two manufacturers (Bond/Garden Zone). Even the least expensive 18" versions do a great job supporting Maximilian sunflower, hibiscus moscheutos, and our other wind/squirrel rocked plants.

Main difference between the Bond and GZ products is that the Bond props include an extra bend to further help keep the stem in the ring - though the GZ varieties have worked fine for us without this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant Props by Bond or Garden Zone

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carol23_gw(7a western NC)

You can also use pea sticks, branches from trees and shrubs. If they are tall enough and have a fork, cut them to size, stick the thicker end in the ground near the base of your plant. The forked part will hold the flowering stalk. More than one support may be necessary for heavy stalks

River birch produces lots of great support sticks which naturally shed in spring. You can use them to support your plants. If you cut back any shrubs, save the branches.

Once you have placed the stick in the ground, cut off excess twigs that are too long. Use a few supports . This is the most discreet and natural way to keep your plants upright.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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four (9B near 9A)(9B (near 9a))

New thriving plant in pot, grown from seed.
Long before any petals, leafless vertical extension of leafed stem grows tall,
and weight of flower bud bends stem straight down.
The resultant small kink leads to death of stem,
despite subsequent good support and restriction of movement.

Yes, one might support /restrict in advance (much work for many flower stems).
But I do not even know the likelihood of recurrence,
and I am writing to ask you Echinacea-experienced readers about that.

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ncrescue

Nice photo, Carol. I always use sticks when I put in a tall transplant. However, some of my asters and sunflowers got so tall last year that I decided to buy some supports...will put them out in March. The supports are huge, but the plants were about eight feet tall and loaded with blooms this past fall...need something strong. I will try to post a photo this year, actually, two: one before the plants grow up through the support, and one after.

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docmom_gw(5)

Four,
It sounds like your seedling may not be getting enough light, so it grows tall and spindly in an effort to find light. Another method to try is to have a small fan blowing near your seedlings as soon as they've germinated. The breeze from the fan will cause the stems to grow stiffer in an effort to combat the swaying effect of the fan. Result, hopefully, is stronger stems and less drooping. Ideally, get those seedlings outside ASAP where they experience true wind and strong sunlight as they grow.

Martha

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four (9B near 9A)(9B (near 9a))

Thanks, Martha.
In seedling stage and for very many months after it,
the form is that of only long leaves radiating from soil level.
Nothing vertical.

Plant finally looks like a bona fide plant : big, proportionally tall & wide,
has multple strong upright stems bearing shorter leaves.

Bare stems rise as continuations of those leafed stems,
atop which flower buds concurrently develop.
Only these bare extensions are weak.

More flowerbud-topped extensions are becoming tall,
and of course I fear that they too will fail in their natural support function.

Excellent conditions of
- light (natural)
- volume and flow of air
- elbow room both above and below soil

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docmom_gw(5)

Four,
Is your plant one of the newer developed species or hybrids? It may have been bred to have bigger blooms than the stems can support. Especially if the same thing is happening to every stem. I've grown lots of coneflowers and never had your diffulty. Sorry for you struggles.

Martha

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four (9B near 9A)(9B (near 9a))

> I've grown lots of coneflowers and never had your diffulty.

I needed to know that.

Provider of seeds labeled them "echinacea ?".

Stem appearnce is as I see in photos.
Some stems are nearing length of failed first one.
I supported them because I would like to see that
the plant will make flowers, not just buds.
Later I can experiment by leaving future stems unsupported.

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four (9B near 9A)(9B (near 9a))

See the photo that I found just now (not in GW) :

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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

That's typical of the stems before they mature...by the time the flower opens, they should be straight.
Easy to forget that....till you show it to us.

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four (9B near 9A)(9B (near 9a))

> by the time the flower opens, they should be straight.

Definitely needed to know that part too. Thanks.

Tomorrow I will remove support from three,
keeping tallest one supported (hedging my bet).

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four (9B near 9A)(9B (near 9a))

Report :
All of those buds died in the same way.
(All stems unsupported, because support was external to pot, and
I needed to move pot slightly.)

Likewise the next four buds.

Then, latest few tall bud stems did not bend.

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four (9B near 9A)(9B (near 9a))

The above-mentioned "latest" now are three full flowers and
three flowers with petals still small.
Three more bud stems collapsed (one dead, two imminent). Total eleven.

Ten buds of various sizes yet either to die or to become flowers.

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four (9B near 9A)(9B (near 9a))

One of the three approaching full flowers became full.

One failed, as the bud stems have been doing; it will die.
Sturdy stem (except in the spot of failure, which in this case was closer to flower) added evidence to what I had been thinking, which is
that stem faillures cause the kinks, rather than vice-versa.

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dandy_line (Z3b N Cent Mn)

Are you sure you aren't out of the natural range for Echinacea? If yours never freeze down then they are continually growing and are going to fall over eventually. Isn't a flower bud on March 1st a little strange?
Maybe the genetics of your particular plant came from the northern end of its range and it thinks its July.

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dandy_line (Z3b N Cent Mn)

I had another thought. Maybe it's Aster Yellows virus.
Read this link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aster Yellows on Echinacea

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four (9B near 9A)(9B (near 9a))

> Posted by dandy_line
> If yours never freeze down then they are continually growing
> and are going to fall over eventually.

Mine is young. See my first posting in this thread, dated Jan 13.

> Isn't a flower bud on March 1st a little strange?

Has been producing them continuously since late Dec.

> Maybe it's Aster Yellows virus.

No, but the article (thank you for it) raises in my mind the possibility of
insects as cause;
i.e. that the failure location on any collapsed stem is the spot where
bitten by some insect.

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