Ask a Question forum: purple coneflowers

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southeastern Indiana
Jul 17, 2017 7:51 AM CST
Once my coneflowers begin to bloom, something cuts the stem a few inches below the bloom, leaving the bloom hanging on the plant to die. I can't see what's doing the damage. I've sprayed pesticide prior to blooming with some success. Didn't want to harm the bees that visit after blooming. Any suggestions?
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 17, 2017 11:51 AM CST
Happens at my house too...
Reckon some kind of cutworm or something.... I find them all the time when practicing triage in the garden.... They usually fail the pressure test, or go to the chickens or drown in a bucket of water or something....

And... There's that critter that likes to chew a ring around stem ends on trees... Maybe related to the echinacea?

I grow enough echinacea that I'm not going to notice an occasional chewed bloom or two....

So... Maybe plant more seeds?
[Last edited by stone - Jul 17, 2017 11:52 AM (+)]
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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Jul 18, 2017 5:55 AM CST
My purple coneflowers seem pretty undamageable here. Sounds like a butterfly/moth caterpillar though. Try dusting the plants with some bT intended for broccoli.

Something like Safer's Soap sprayed along the stem might also help. Neither will harm the bees.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Jul 19, 2017 12:37 PM CST
It sounds like the sunflower head-clipping weevil - see the pictures on this page:

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