Echinacea

Echinaceas bloom in late summer. They have pronounced rounded centres (known as cones), horizontal drooping petals and are loved by bees and butterflies. There are many varieties and the plant is often used to help alleviate skin rashes and to boost the immune system.

All photos by Toni Abram.

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Similar to heleniums, echinaceas have daisy like flowers but they are stiff stemmed and more robust looking, which means the plant should not need staking. They grow well in full sun and can tolerate drought due to deep taproots which enable them to store water.

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Echinaceas can be grown from seed and should flower in their first year if planted by March but I have always purchased well grown plants from a garden centre or online.

They can be planted in pots or garden borders but once planted you should try not to disturb them – if you do have to move or divide them, spring is the best time and you must dig as large a root ball as you can manage around the plant and replant it immediately.

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Flowering time can be prolonged by cutting dead flowers back to a leaf where you can see a new bud developing, however towards the end of flowering, it is worth leaving some flowers on the plant to dry and go to seed for winter interest in the garden.

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A perennial plant, echinaceas die back over the winter months but will re-grow the following summer, spreading and self sowing each year.

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