Where are we on the Echinacea bubble? Are new cultivars getting better or just more numerous? Are home gardeners successfully growing any of the hot colors and if not, how long will they keep trying? I've traveled a fair amount this year and spoken with a lot of growers and we all seem to be struggling with Echinacea to some degree. So, what's the future of Echinacea?
Echinacea White Swan: It’s not me, it’s you. We don’t have fun anymore. You just sit around the greenhouse blooming inconsistently and getting that mysterious ozone damage on your leaves. I can’t keep living like this. I want to see other white Echinacea – someone younger and flashier and consistent – a white Echinacea who knows how to treat a gardener. I know, it’s lot to take in, so I’m letting you down easy by planting you to overwinter one more time. But that’s it.
Paul, that made me laugh outloud! :) I assume you're growing PowWow White as a white alternative....
Pow Wow White indeed. Oddly, we had our biggest issue with eriophid mites on Pow Wow White this year - several crops were trashed and it always showed in this cultivar first. It's probably coincidence, but I'll be keeping a close eye on them last year.
It's the random pests that trouble me most about Echinacea. I went from fungus gnat larvae eating roots to alleged ozone damage on foliage to several different pests on cones (mites, potential aster yellows, and some kind of worm), to leaf spots (Septoria, I think) and foliar nematodes were an issue in there somewhere too. Then we have random mutations to flowers that I don't understand - doubles not double in the way they're supposed to be, fluted/spoon tipped ray florets on plants that are supposed to have flat rays, etc.. I can't think of another genus of plants we grow (or attempt to grow) that gives us as many fits as Echinacea. But, when they're good, they're awesome and there's currently tremendous demand for them...so we keep plugging away.
Has to have something to do with overbreeding. Are the bloodlines too thin? Are they all kissin cousins?
The town of Laval has an Echinacea garden since 2008. It is supported by the industry, namely Norseco (us), Ball, Darwin Plants, Plant Nouveau, Terra Nova, Future Plants, local perennials growers. All offered plants so the garden can be a witness of this popular Genera. The garden covers 30000 sq.ft. It received so far more then 80 taxons. Some more will added in spring 2013. The garden keeper is the city itself with some interests in horticulture and mainly to create an attraction for the gardens. Some notes were taken from which can be derived some conclusions. It is not very scientific for lack of proper protocols and personel.
James Bourgeois, Norseco inc.
Paul Westervelt said:
Angie, do you (or does anyone else) know of a thorough Echinacea performance trial? I'm looking for something that spans breeders. I visited the pansy trial at Metrolina last week where they had genetics broken out by breeder on one side and by color on the other. If I wanted a yellow blotch, I could compare them all side by side to clearly see their differences or lack thereof. Hugely useful. Most of the time, when I see Echinacea in a trial, it's whatever variety happened to be sent to that trial at the right time. North Creek has a fair sampling but nothing from Terra Nova. I heard Mt Cuba closed their Echinacea trial - not sure if it's true or not. Anyone know of anyplace trialing a broad spectrum?
Quebec! Goodness Gracious, John! I'm interested to hear your findings and equally hoping someone closer to my region also has a trial :)