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Perennials: Purple Coneflower (echinacea) wilting in sun

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Forum: PerennialsReplies: 7, Views: 17
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Alexandria, VA

May 30, 2006
5:03 PM

Post #2331729

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.
west Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

May 30, 2006
6:08 PM

Post #2331987

They often wilt over for me in late, hot afternoons. Don't they perk up when it gets cooler in late afternoon near sunset?
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

May 30, 2006
8:05 PM

Post #2332351

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.
Menasha, WI
(Zone 5a)

May 30, 2006
9:26 PM

Post #2332713

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.
Cullowhee, NC
(Zone 6b)

May 30, 2006
10:25 PM

Post #2332937

I second that advice. Purple coneflowers are prairie plants, so they like it on the dry side. They do get limp at times. If you water them too much, they'll look even worse.
Hope Valley, RI
(Zone 6b)

May 31, 2006
6:04 AM

Post #2334439

They go limp-wilt to present less surface are to the sun and to conserve moisture. This is thier defense.
Finger Lakes, NY
(Zone 6a)

May 31, 2006
6:15 PM

Post #2335952

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.
Alexandria, VA

May 31, 2006
6:45 PM

Post #2336052

Thank you so much for your responses. I feel much better now. I thought I was doing something wrong. I'm pretty new at this and am grateful for all the help I can get.

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