Coneflowers...What's wrong with the leaves?

OakleyJune 18, 2010

Annie, if you're reading this, the last picture is just for you!

I have two patches of Coneflowers, one patch has leaves drying up on them, but the stems are still nice and green. The flower doesn't seem effected either.

I water at the bottom of the plant, but I do remember last week I gave the hose to my husband and he watered from above when the sun was shining, and I had to slap his hand. :)

Do you think this is water burn, or something else?

This is for you, Annie. Remember when I thought bugs were eating my flowers? :)

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No expert on Coneflowers but just wanted to comment on that pretty coral(?) rose in the last photo. Pretty.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 12:02PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I don't know what's going on with the leaves either, but what kind of coneflowers are those? I love those petals on the cone.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 12:38PM
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What is that fern-like tall green plant at the back right of the Razz coneflowers? Looks like Artichoke leaves. That is one beautiful plant. Great background for your beautiful coneflower and that orange rose. I love orange roses. (I want to get at least two orange roses).

As for the damaged leaves:

Are you on city water or well water?
If city water, then yes, your husband spraying them is what damaged the leaves. The chlorine and other additives burns leaves. Chlorine is a salt.

If you are on well water, then it might be from too much rain, but then you didn't get all that much rain though did you? Hmmm. I would go with the first choice - City water.

Your hubby did it. Tell him I said, shame, shame. :)

Remove the damaged leaves. Your Coneflowers will grow new leaves and look good again. I promise. Don't fertilize it. Let it recover.

I have had the same look caused by butterfly larvae. Coneflowers attract butterflies and butterflies lay eggs on them. They are "host" plants for butterflies, as are Black-eyed Susans. When they do, the eggs hatch and will devour all the leaves, turning them black or dark brown like that. Your once beautiful plant will look terrible. But don't despair and do anything rash. The plant will recover and look good as new again, and you will have lots of new butterflies to boot.

Occasionally, there are so many larvae on my Black-eyed Susans that the little plant dies. You will notice that they seem to target one or two plant in particular. I have so many in my garden that it doesn't even make a dent. The remaining plants flourish (with their extra space), and then I have lots of butterflies in my gardens.

Besides growing lots of Black-eyed Susans, I grow lots of Dill in my gardens for the Monarchs and other large butterflies and moths. They eat all the leaves off the plants and the plants recover just fine.
The more we know about Nature, the easier it is to be a successful gardener.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 12:40PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Annie, what butterflies host on coneflowers and black-eyed Susans? I know they use them as a nectar source, but never heard of them as a host.

It's black swallowtails that host on dill. Monarchs use milkweed exclusively.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 1:22PM
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I've had the same thing happen to coneflowers and black-eyed susans. Sometimes it has been just a stem or two, other times it's been the whole clump. I have never been able to figure out with any certainty what the cause was. When it's been just a stem or two, I have cut the affected stems to the ground and the plant has survived. When it has spread to the entire clump, it's been fatal.

Good luck

Totally Confused

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 3:35PM
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My phlox will do that some years, too.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 6:01PM
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Annie, the tall green bushlike plant are yellow Cosmos.

We're on "rural water." Not city or well. I'll take the dead flowers off first and see what happens.

Oh, you'll appreciate this. We planted Gaillardia (Blanket flower) and they're blooming!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 7:21PM
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I don't know, what happened to mine is more of sudden wilt which I attributed to a walnut seedling growing nearby. However that photo seems to be more of a mildew problem. Just my 2 cents

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 7:32PM
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Maybe this link will help identify the problem....

Here is a link that might be useful: Coneflower diseases

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 10:29PM
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think it's the botrytis blight. Sounds close to what's happening in the photos and there's been too much rain lately. Has it been that rainy in OK?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 11:39AM
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I had some kind of disease attack one of my coneflowers several years ago. Some of the leaves looked like that. The rest of the plant got all deformed and made the weirdest flowers. Hideous. I cut it back and burned the trimmings.

The next year, it came up looking weird again, so, I removed the entire plant and burned it. I have not had that ugly stuff since - knock on wood.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 1:02PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Oakley, are those Razzmatazz?

Annie, I searched, but couldn't find a thing about coneflowers & BE Susans being host plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: host and nectar source list

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 2:22PM
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Since last year I have become a coneflower addict. I go everywhere looking for the new varieties. I have had bad luck with some, but I keep trying. We have had extreme temperature swings here in NC.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 7:49AM
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