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Hi. I'm new to this wonderful site and am very excited to receive all this priceless info. I searched and did not find this answered.
I have clay soil but with good garden soil added to my purple coneflowers which were planted as 1 1/2 ft. plants last year while in flower in early July. I dug a rather big hole and added the garden soil and fertilizer to my two plants. They've come up beautifully this year and are now 2 feet tall and bushy and have big buds, but whenever the midday sun hits they wilt like crazy. They get full sun from 11:00am to 6pm. It is very hot and humid here in Virginia, US. As soon as the sun is off of them, they perk right up.
I figured they needed more water, so I've watered quite a bit. After looking through this site yesterday, I think that I should let them dry up a bit. No black spots on the leaves or signs of rot. Any ideas as to why they wilt the way they do? Anything I can do to make them "act right?" Thanks very much.
If they're perking up again when it cools off in the evening, they probably don't need more water. The wilting is a natural thing that some plants do when they are stressed by exposure to lots of heat and sun, so I don't think there's really much you can do about it besides put them somewhere cooler/shadier, and then they might not bloom as well.
I have seen this in the past on supposed drought tolerant plants. My heliopsis does this early in the summer too, then is fine the rest of the year for some reason.
I would agree that as long as the plant rebounds at night and is plenty wet - just let it recover on it's own.
I have over a dozen varieties of echinacea or coneflowers. It got hot in Upstate NY quickly this week and most of my coneflowers are wilting in the direct afternoon sun too. They do perk back up in the evening when it cools down and they look great in the morning. I make sure they get water once a week and they are just fine. I love them because they are so hardy and tough, even in clay soil. Once established I never "baby" them.