Must Read Article

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

This is an awesome article with some excellent info in it. This guy knows what he is talking about.

http://www.perennial-solutions.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/articles.detail/articleID/87/index.htm

Southeast, MA(Zone 6b)

Very interesting. Sounds like a lot of the retail growers need to read this too. That explains why plants received after April or May start to grow and then just sit there and flower but stay small. Also explains why TN told you to get 1 gal. plants so they would over winter better. So if you buy small plants, ideally you should get them early spring, keep them in a lighted area 24/7, transplant until they have bulked up then plant out when they are a good sized plant with many stems. If you get them in the fall you do the same over winter but slowly let them go dormant for how long? Usually things need about six weeks but it may vary. Or do you just keep them under lights and bulk up then plant out in the spring? Or wait and buy a larger plant with many stems for planting right away. Either way it seems clear you need a bulky plant to put in the garden to have the best chance for success.

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

ngam - I had one Echie indoors under a 400 W metal halide light all winter. LOL. I never let it go dormant and it is blooming like crazy right now. They will definitely survive and bloom next Spring if you give them adequate light and remove the flower buds. I'm learning so much more about the growth of these plants. The nice thing about the article is he points out they won't bloom if given light 24/7. This means you could let them get very large over the winter if you have grow lights. This also explains why my best rooting of cuttings of these was under a light 24/7.

This article explains why Echinacea "Tiki Torch" performed poorly for so many people over the winter. It practically blooms itself to death. Nobody can stand removing the blooms the first year so it blooms at a very small size which causes it not to be strong enough for winter survival.

This is the best article I've ever read about growing these new plants. I can clearly see the things he's talking about in my actual experiences with these cultivars.

Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

LOL. I read the article about 3 times and my head is spinning round and round. I need to read it at least another 3 times to absorb some more info. LOL Maybe I'll just switch to growing dandelions. They bloom pretty well!!! It does seem true that the plants that don't branch as well are the ones most likely to not return, or perform well, the next year. Yikes!!! Now I feel like I don't know nuttin bout Echies.

Cedar Springs, MI(Zone 5b)

TMI
So in a nut shell somebody please decipher what we should do
when it comes to plugs and bigger potted plants.
Would it help to disbud my young flowering Echie plants at this time?
OR...would disbudding merely encourage more growth when I want them to start thinking about going dormant?
What about wintering small plants purchased this year as plugs?
Will mulching them after the ground freezes help survive a Z5 winter
with less stress?
When is the best time to plant plugs?
Mine are currently in 4" pots.
THANKS for any advice.

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

Cottage Rose -

I'm not sure what to do in your zone. Are you really wanting them to go dormant this early?

We still have a good bit of growing time here so I'm trying to get my plants to grow as much as possible. I really think plugs should already be growing in the ground in you zone. They need to get established before winter gets here. Someone else might have more info about your zone.

You might want to contact someone like Garden Crossings since they are in your area. I bet they could give some awesome advice about wintering these small plants in your zone.

This article is basically about using light and a spray of Configure to bulk up these plants. Plugs will try to bloom under normal light outdoors so the idea is to give them artificial light at night so they have light 24/7. This keeps them from blooming and gets them to make larger plants. This really works too. The spray causes them to put up many more basal shoots than normal. It's like you end up with a 2 year old looking plant in year one. This plant will be tough enough to survive the winter.

Southeast, MA(Zone 6b)

You are in a colder zone than I am and even here I do not deadhead mine. I let at least a few flowers go to seed to tell the plant it can stop blooming and put any energy into growing more roots and foliage until the short days tell it to pack it in for winter. Also the birds are very happy to have a snack. Other people may try for a second round of flowers but they are usually much smaller if they come and to me not worth taking a chance that the plant isn't ready for an early frost. If your four inch plants have good roots I would plant them after the hot weather passes and I would definitely mulch any plants you plant this fall. Calling a local nursery is very good advice.

(Warren)Lisbon Falls, ME(Zone 5a)

echinaceamaniac,
Great article. I love reading/learning more. Gonna try this next year when my plants come in.
I find each variety seems to be different when it comes to basal branching vs. flowering. I have Meringue, Milkshake, Flame Thrower, Coconut Lime that are pretty heavy basal branchers before flowering and then Coral reef, Pink Poodle, Tomato Soup, Mac n'Cheese, Tiki Torch and Tangerine Dream that are the single plant type without much basal branching before they send up a flower....all were brought in as plugs and potted up to 4" pots.

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

Warren - I sprayed my Pink Poodle and a week later it has several new basal branches. I will post photos when I get home.

(Warren)Lisbon Falls, ME(Zone 5a)

Clint,
Where do you get your Configure from? I'd love to see those pictures and try out some test on my own up here in Maine. See if it does help decrease mortality through the winter.

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