Drought tolerant plants dying!?!

jencwalker(denver z5)July 17, 2003

I have two questions:

1. I planted a strawflower that seems to be dying in the heat and low water conditions. I thought it was a drought tolerant plant? Does it prefer shade or direct sun?

2. I have purple coneflower and most are doing well, however, a few are turning brown on the tips of the flower. It looks premature to the forming of a seed head.

Any thoughts about these? Thank you.

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How long have the plants been growing in your garden?

"drought tolerant" means AFTER they have time to get a good root system, and depends on where the plant is from. Drought tolerant back east means "dead in a week" in Arizona.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2003 at 5:12PM
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nmnative(7 NM)

Both plants can take partial shade or sun. They do need the first summer in my experience to become established. Like the other poster said they need that time to grow the roots that will nourish them later. Drought tolerant means they will tolerate drought--they will do better with some water. One thing that has helped me is to feed them with root stimulator and mulch heavily so they don't dry out when they are newly planted.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2003 at 10:40PM
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barbara_muret(ctr OK)

Personal experience has taught me that in Oklahoma "full sun" is a misnomer! With careful mulching, regular watering, and loving care - July/August will still kill many plants. If you're trying something new it helps your budget to experiment the first year then add to them later. Lazygardens has the big key-it needs time to develop strong roots early. Remember roots go much farther than the "plant" appears - so when you plant prepare the dirt that will be around it deep and wide. I'm blessed with strawflower and cornflower - and passion flower & others that grow wild on my property - but I have yet to be able to "garden plant" them and have them survive. But I keep trying! Nature has her own mysteries! Every yard is different. Experimentation and patience is the key. barb

    Bookmark   August 5, 2003 at 11:12AM
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Norton(Okanagan Valley)

Hello from the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada. We have now gone 46 days without rain here, with temperatures ranging from 90 - 105 degrees. We also get strong hot winds. Winters are fairly mild where I live, only about 3" or 4" of snow usually and only for two or three weeks. Some of my annual flowers manage to winter over. We use strong lawn sprinklers to keep the grass and flowers going in summer, but our young trees are having a tough time. We wintered in Lake Havasu, AZ in '93, '94, and 1995, but I can't remember if there are many deciduous trees there. Anyone want to chat with me. I have questions about "leaf scorch" (if there is such a thing) on a Scarlet Hawthorn tree that we planted this Spring.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2003 at 3:06PM
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Norton -- I've always loved B.C. -- never been, but loved the photos and the stories friends bring back. Now it sounds like the whole province is being turned upside down -- and not for the best,either! How close are the fires to you? I know nothing about leaf scorch - maybe someone else here does -- you may want to post a "new" item so that it catches folks' eyes. jo

    Bookmark   August 10, 2003 at 8:55PM
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loucolo(5 colorado)

I live in Colorado too, in Louisville and have the same problem you do.Echinaceas are not doing well and this is not their first year.
Also tried twice, to plant a white one and both have died before getting a chance. I'm losing long established groundcovers and even mint.
Yes, it's true, you need to water the heck out of them the first year, but we have now had about three years like this.
Can't do regular watering when you are restricted. Try some winter hardy cactus- they love it!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 12:27AM
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drought tolerant and full sun here in Texas.. means after they are established....meaning the second year. The first year you need to water regularly...you are just trying to keep them alive the first year.....the second year if they survive, they will really take off....

    Bookmark   July 14, 2004 at 10:34PM
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Are you talking about Echinacea purpurea???

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflowers) are NOT all that drought tolerant here in Colorado. They originate from the tallgrass prairies back east (IL, WI, Iowa) where rainfall averages 30" per year or more. We here in Colorado are in the shortgrass prairie "zone" and get, if we're lucky, half of that rainfall. So, Illinois' version of "drought-tolerant" is not the same as Colorado's version. Plus, purple coneflowers are not all that well adaped to our intense sunlight at 5200+ feet (IL is at about 500 feet).

You can try growing them in areas with morning sun only (afternoon shade) - this technique works for a friend of mine (we live at 7000+ feet near Colorado Springs), and mulch them too. You will probably have to water them more than other plants that are drought-tolerant here in Colorado.

I would also suggest replacing the purple coneflowers with the variety that is native to the shortgrass prairie here in the west - Echinacea angustifolia. It is similar, but can survive our Colorado conditions better. Prairie coneflower, while yellow, also does well here (Ratibida columnifera - yellow form).

I don't know a ton about strawflowers, sorry.


Here is a link that might be useful: Echinacea angustifolia

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 1:12PM
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I grow mine in morning sun in the High Desert and deep water every other day once established(watered alot the first year.)PJ

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 4:51PM
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