Coneflower Troubles Still - Knowledgebase Question

Knoxville, Te
Question by jason73
May 28, 2010
Just a followup to yesterday's coneflowers, I wanted to add some pics, the new pics were taken at 7:12 am, a couple hours after the dew, mostly upright, but some still look as if showing stress. Fragrant Coneflowers seem to have curved leaves, Pink coneflowers are starting to fall. Should I stake cones? Thx (ps bushes don't get sun till 11am-6ish. Not sure they like true full sun.


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Answer from NGA
May 28, 2010

0

This is really perplexing! Purple coneflowers grow best in full sunshine and they won't flower well with less than 5-6 hours of direct sun. They require well draining soils and will wilt if they get too much water which compromises the root system, but they will also begin to wilt if they need water. The vascular system on your plant may be damaged - due to root rot or insect damage - or your plant may simply be trying to conserve water by wilting in the sunshine. Hydrangeas do the same thing. They wilt in the hot sunshine but recover overnight and look fine the next morning. It's a process that's natural as the plant tries to conserve moisture. It may be that this particular plant is damaged in some way and that's why it is acting so out of character. Moving it is an option, but planting it in a shadier location will sacrifice some flowering. You can stake your plant to help keep the stems upright but staking won't stop the wilting. I really think there's a problem with the roots that's causing the wilting and the only way you'll know for sure is to dig it up and inspect the root system. You might try providing some temporary shade to see if that stops the wilting before you decide to dig and transplant your coneflower. You have room around the plant to drive 4 stakes into the ground and attach some shade cloth over the top of the stakes to filter the sun. If you do this and the plant does not wilt, you'll know it will thrive under shadier conditions. If the plant wilts even though you've shaded it from direct sunshine, the wilt is probably due to a root problem. This is a very unusual problem for a usually care free plant!

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