Tall & Lanky Echies

Nashville, TN(Zone 7a)

Hi Guys -

As I've mentioned a few times on this forum, I bought my first 2 echies last year. They came back just fine this year, except the actual plants are really tall and lanky. Any idea what would cause this? I would assume fertilizing would do this, but I haven't fertilized. Maybe this is normal for some echies as they mature through the years, but I prefer the more stout, strong, and compact look they had last year.

I have really small starter plants of "Tomato Soup" and "Coconut Lime" that I planted in the ground a month ago, but they haven't grown much at all. I hope they'll make it through this winter. On the other hand, my Pink Double Delight is blowing me away! It's in CONSTANT bloom and has about 26 blooms on it right now. I just bought it at a local nursery a little over a month ago.

Thanks,

Tasha

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

Tasha,

I planted my Tomato Soup in a place protected from the hot afternoon sun and it's growing like crazy and blooming. I live in West Tennessee. Our hot summer sun is scorching. I have found the blooms last much longer in this flower bed than mine which faces west in full sun. The weather that we are having this year has really taken its toll on my plants in the full sun. In fact, I've never seen the blooms last such a short while. They are very ratty looking right now. I've learned a lot about growing the small plugs this year. I planted them in a flower bed I made that gets filtered afternoon sun but full morning sun. The only plant I've had trouble with is Echinacea "Coral Reef" but that's because I tried to grow it in a pot. I think one of them will survive since I planted it in this new flower bed.

The only thing I've noticed that makes the plants grow tall and lanky are...

1.) The cultivar...Some of the plants just naturally grow tall. You didn't say which cultivars you planted last year, but I bet they are just naturally a tall variety.

2.) Too much shade...If the plants don't get enough sun, they do tend to get taller. Pink Double Delight is a shorter, more full variety so you shouldn't have problems with it. Coconut Lime will get taller than it, especially in a shadier location but it's an awesome plant!

Some of my standard Echinacea Purpurea are 4-5 feet tall in full sun. They just grow to that size. Keep in mind that some of the plants sold in stores are treated with hormones to stunt the growth and to make a fuller plant. The second year your plant will not look like some of the plants in stores because you aren't using those products on them anymore as well.

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Most of my small plug sized plants do not appear to grow much in the first month or so. The key is just letting them get settled into their new environment and having a healthy looking plant. If they stay healthy they seem to eventually start a pretty good growing cycle. Most of mine are second year plants also and the majority of them are much taller. I haven't considered it a negative though. I just assumed they were taller because they have been undisturbed now for a year and are more mature plants.
I've only had my Pink Double Delight for a month or so and its been a very fast grower already with buds already forming. No complaints from me on this one.
Very good point about hormone treatments. Always good to keep that point in mind when comparing your plant now vs when you first obtained it from a nursery. I think many of us get expectations that are a bit too high down the line.

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