Growing Echinacea & Rudbeckia in Ontario?

northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)July 20, 2007

Has anyone had disappointing results with Echinacea and Rudbeckia this year? I have grown Purple coneflower for several years and this year my three plants are small (one is about 6 iches high) and has a few buds, the other two are about 12 inches high with a couple puny flowers on them. I also notice small blooms of Rudbeckia - single stalks with just one flower instead of the usual busy growth with profuse blooms. These plants are not in the same area - the coneflowers are in the front border, Rudbeckia are in three different locations in the back yard. I wonder if it's this inconsistent weather we have been having, or does it have someting to do with my environment. I live in Ottawa. Anyone else having this problem?


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I'm having the same results with my Rudbeckia this year as well. Small flowers, not as many flowers per stem and short stems. The plants are not as bushy and leafy as they usually are.
Some of my lilies are blooming before their time. The flower heads are not as big and showy as usual. My Stella d'Oro day lilies, which usually bloom most of the summer, look like they have just given up, but I have an abundance of seed pods on them this year.
I live in SW Ontario, near Windsor.
I'm not too sure what is happening, but we have been having a cooler July than usual and the nights go down to 50F to 55F, which is very unusual for this area.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 10:32AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Thanks for responding Hostaaud - you seem to be in the same boat. It must be the unusually cool, wet weather here this summer causing the poor results. We have just been through several days of rain with quite cool temperatures - broken records for rainfall on certain days - and we hope to have another few days of hot, humid weather starting tomorrow. My Asiatic and Oriental lilies are not doing that well - small flowers, few blooms, and short stems, but my daylilies are doing very well. I guess we just have to let Mother Nature do her thing.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 4:21AM
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claubill(z3Sud ONT)

I've wintersown double decker echinacea this last winter and they are doing very well. I realize that I probably won't get any flowers this year but I'm expecting them next year. As for rudbekia, they self-seed profusely that I don't bother winter sowing them.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 11:36PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Claudbill, I am always amazed that so many gardeners say that rudbeckia self-seeds. I grew it last year, had two large plants full of flowers, and no seedlings this year. Strangely enough, I had about 3 seedlings in 4-inch pots which were never picked up last summer and which over-wintered outdoors in those little pots and survived!! I probably pruned my plants too early - wanted to get things cleaned up for the fall. My new seedlings are doing quite well, but it's the flowering plants that I'm having the problems with. I would send you a pic. but my camera software is not working and I'm trying to re-install and that's not going either.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 2:38AM
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claubill(z3Sud ONT)

Northerner_on: I have had to give away so many rudbekias because they are just spreading like crazy. The same goes for hollyhocks. We have a lot of friends who say that they just can't grow hollyhocks and yet we're in the same zone and ours are all over the place.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 11:59PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Well Claudbill, this thread is morphing into something else. For years I could not get Hollyhocks past their fist year (now I know it was because I was growing them in an area that was too wet), but was successful last year when I WS'd some seeds from my neighbour who had a most beautiful deep burgundy one. I thought this would be perfect against my new fence. I had 3 plants, and when they came back up this year, the middle one grow like it was on steroids. It completely obliterated the smallest one, and ended up being over six feet tall and almost as wide. Today I counted 13 stalks of flowers. BUT my big disappointment was that it flowered white!!! The smaller one had one stalk which was a very pale yellow, and the smallest one is still a little thing about 6 inches tall!! Now I am alarmed that I may have white hollyhocks all over the place. I wonder if I pulled it out of the ground at the end of August if I could avoid this. I have planted two more which I WS'd this winter which should bloom next year. My DH got the seeds for me and can't remember the colour, but I know it's not white, and I certainly do not want any more super-sized white hollyhocks. Is this a case of the seeds not coming true to the parent? What do you thing of my idea (pulling it out in August)?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 12:37AM
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lesviolin(so ontario)

I have some white hollyhocks with lime green centers - and when I planted the seeds from them in another location, they bloom pink sometimes, even on the same plant it seems! I can't figure why this would be except the difference in conditions where the original plants are - southern exposure against the white brick wall of the house and relatively dry - and where the seedlings grow - shadier and probably slightly better soil - maybe this could affect the colour?
I have a lot of different ones I am going to try putting in now, I've heard you can do this with Hollyhocks ----

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 11:40AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Hi Lesviolin:
I posted something about my hollyhock colour on the Winter Sowing forum and this is what Trudi had to say about it:

"No, they don't come true from seed. Hollyhocks cross with any other hollyhock nearby, they don't have to be in your yard but only within a bee's flight path. If a bee visits a hollyhock in your neighborhood and that pollen is still on its legs when it visits another hollyhock then crossing can and usually does occur. "

So I guess, the colour you get from your seed can be a surprise, especially if you don't have any HH's in your yard.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 9:05AM
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