Echinacea Experiments

echinaceamaniac(7)February 28, 2008

I crossed Tennessee Coneflowers with many other varieties this past year. I'm growing them under lights now, and one of them really stands out from the rest...It always has the strangest color of leaves, even the cotyledons were the chartreuse color! I love how the veins of the leaf are still green. I hope this plant stays this way. It's very unusual. Notice the difference in it and the other one...

Have any of you seen an echinacea like this?

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echinaceamaniac(7)

I forgot to ask if anyone can tell if this is a type of variegation. It looks like it to me, but I'm not so sure!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 11:18AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

EM,

The texture of the leaves is certainly different. Maybe it is some kind of mutation-hybrid. It certainly will be interesting to see what the flowers look like on that specimen.

MM

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 1:32PM
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echinaceamaniac(7)

Here are some new photos...The leaves change colors after they are on the plant awhile. It's bizarre. The look almost metallic in certain lighting.

Notice the two new leaves are more solid in the light color. The older leaves are the lighter colors. The plant on the right is just for color reference.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 10:15AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

EM,

"They look almost metallic in certain lighting."

I noticed a light green metallic effect on my indoor zinnias back last January. I thought it was some kind of nutritional imbalance, perhaps from too much soluble fertilizer, so I switched to watering them with pure melted snow water. The snow water is equivalent to distilled water, but doesn't cost anything, except the effort to bring in the buckets of snow and let it melt.

That didn't help and all of my zinnias died. It was only in the last days of their life that I started inspecting the affected leaves with a powerful magnifier and discovered that they were heavily infected by thrips.

The young thrips (the first instar) are too small to be seen by the naked eye. The second instar are barely visible. If you look really close you can see the adult thrips moving around. They have feather-like wings. An aphid is large compared to a thrips. The thrips have one mouth part modified like a large shovel which they use to tear open a leaf cell membrane to drink out the contents, including most of the chlorophyll. The empty leaf cells have a light green metallic appearance, somewhat like the leaves in the picture above.

You probably don't have thrips because your plants seem to be growing OK, but if you see any tiny black dots (thrips droppings) appearing on your leaves, you had better get out a strong magnifier and inspect the leaves. I used a tiny 8-power magnifier and a 30-power pocket microscope.

I never had a problem with thrips on my outdoor zinnias, but indoors they are bad news. I intend to purchase a systemic insecticide containing imidacloprid to deal with my next thrips outbreak.

MM

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 1:54PM
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echinaceamaniac(7)

Thanks MM! I'm pretty sure it's not those things. I'm going to keep an eye out for them though. It's odd that this plant has been so strange from the time it germinated. I have some other plants that are already a foot tall. These echinaceas are growing great indoors. I'm using a MH light (400 watts.)

I really think this plant is special. It looks almost like a watercolor painting sometimes the way the leaves fade. I really like it.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 2:41PM
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tnangela

I suspect that your echinacea has more paradoxa (yellow)genes showing than the others, like this seedling on the left.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 11:38AM
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echinaceamaniac(7)

Thanks tnangela. I can't wait to see this plant bloom. I have over 100 different echinacea plants growing now. Some of them will bloom very soon. I think I'll post some pictures of them then. I've had so much fun growing these. It's amazing how different the leaves, colors, blooms, etc. can be.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 2:31PM
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tnangela

You have far more than I. I, too, think they are nice plants. I will try and make my picture smaller next time. Sorry.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 7:12PM
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