Echinacea is a herbaceous perennial of the Astrov family. Depending on the type, the size can be from several tens of centimeters to two or more meters. The broad leaves are oval in shape and notched along the edges. Daisy-like flowers of white, pink, purple, yellow, crimson, orange, salmon and even greenish colors appear around mid-July and delight in bright hues until mid-September.
In the genus Echinacea about 10 species of plants. Most often in the suburban areas grown the following 3 species.
- Echinacea (rudbeckia) purple - the owner of large flowers with a diameter of about 12 cm. This perennial plant has a large number of terry and simple varieties of different colors. Some representatives reach a height of 2 m 20 cm, there are babies no more than 45 cm tall.
- Echinacea strange (paradoxical) attracts attention with bright yellow flowers. It can reach 80 cm, is actively used in landscape design.
- Sunset is a hybrid of purple and paradoxical echinacea with large fragrant flowers of exquisite colors and a strong branching stem.
New varieties of Echinacea are gaining popularity. You can find drought-resistant variants, copies of an interesting purple color or with flowers that look like shaggy hemispheres.
The plant contains a large amount of essential oils, tannins, macro-and micronutrients. Echinacea purpure and tincture have antiviral and wound-healing effect. Juice, obtained from flowers, in folk medicine treats wounds, decoction of roots is used for chronic fatigue and colds, and tincture of fresh flowers is used to combat depression and overwork. The pharmaceutical industry produces drugs based on Echinacea purpurea.
Echinacea-based drugs are not recommended for pregnant and lactating mothers who are prone to allergies, as well as in the presence of certain diseases.
It is possible to receive young copies as a seed, and a vegetative way.
The flower can be grown in one place for up to 5 years, then it is transplanted. At this time, overgrown bushes perennial Echinacea, it is desirable to divide. Work is best done in April, at the beginning of the growing season, in instances older than 4-5 years. You can perform the separation of a large bush of Echinacea in the fall, during the fall of the leaves. In this case, it is better not to delay the procedure, so that the young specimens can take root before the frost.
Scrub carefully dug. Echinacea cleavages with 3-4 kidney renewals are detached from the uterine bush and planted in a new area. When planting do not deepen the root neck, it should not be below ground level.
- Seed breeding method.
You can sow Echinacea seeds immediately in open ground or pre-grow seedlings.
Sowing directly on the flower garden is carried out not earlier than mid-April, when the temperature reaches +13 degrees. In the southern regions you can sow Echinacea late in the fall, then the seedlings will appear in early spring. Large seeds are placed in moist soil to a depth of about 0.5 cm and lightly sprinkled with soil.
Because of the unstable spring weather, it is safer to first grow seedlings, and then transplant strong plants to the street. This option is especially relevant in areas with cold spring and short summer.
For seedlings, seeds are sown in February or March in boxes or containers to a depth of about 0.5 cm. A substrate is prepared from sand, compost and garden soil in a ratio of 1: 1: 2. It is better not to use ready-made soil mixture on the basis of peat for echinacea: it inhibits the germination of seed material. Seeds deepen to 0.5 cm in the ground, lightly sprinkled with soil and moistened with a spray bottle. Containers contain at a temperature of about +13 degrees.
Young shoots germinate long enough, even at the optimum temperature, you need to wait 1-1.5 months. Landings are regularly watered and loosened. Strengthened seedlings are transferred to open ground at the end of May, pre-hardened seedlings.
How to plant Echinacea?
Plants grown from seeds are transferred to a previously prepared area, which since the autumn is freed from weeds and plant residues, fertilized and dug. Seedlings are placed at a distance of about 30 cm between adjacent specimens. The interval is adjusted depending on the type and size of the flower.
Adult echinacea can be purchased in a container or a small pot. Such flowers can be planted in open ground throughout the vegetative season. For planting, they prepare a hole about 40 cm deep. Then fill its bottom for a third with compost, sand and garden soil in equal proportions. Echinacea gently rolled into the landing pit, along with a clod of earth. Planting depth is observed the same as the flower grew in a pot.
After work, the flowers are watered, and the soil in the hole is mulched. The first time grown from the seeds of Echinacea will bloom in the next vegetative season, large delenki and adult bushes from the container may please flowers in the year of planting.
Features of growing
The vagaries of nature rarely harm the health and appearance of the plant, and you can get gorgeous flowers while observing the minimum rules of care.
- Echinacea - the flower of the sun. She will like the light area, light partial shade is permissible. When cultivated on shaded areas, the flowers become smaller, they can disappear.
- Prefers neutral or slightly alkaline acidity of the soil. The composition of the soil Echinacea is not too demanding, but it does not fit areas with light sandy soil. Organics are added to such land, because only on fertile soil, Echinacea can show all its beauty.
- This is a moisture-loving plant. Needs abundant and frequent watering, especially in the heat. They are best spent in the evening. In rainy weather with a large amount of precipitation it is not necessary to irrigate. When the temperature drops, the amount of watering is reduced.
- Echinacea is administered twice a season: at the beginning of the growing season and during the budding period. Organic fertilizers are used in the spring, for example humus or compost. Before flowering, pour a solution of mineral supplements.
- Weeds are regularly removed, loosening at the site.
- Around the end of October, the stems are pruned. Before the cold, slightly mulch the root neck of Echinacea with compost, and cover it with a layer of dry leaves. This will save the plant from freezing. A flower without protection may die in regions with low temperatures in winter or in the absence of snow cover.
You can spend the cultivation of echinacea from seeds collected independently. For reproduction choose beautiful inflorescences, located on healthy specimens. Collect seeds from both varieties of simple echinacea and terry varieties. In the second case, usually in the first generation, the plants have all the properties of the queen cell, but in the future they may lose their terry and other features.
The collection is carried out in parts, when the core darkens in the inflorescence. Seeds are cleaned of flower residues after ripening, dried and placed in paper or cloth bags. They try not to keep for a long time, because the seeds of Echinacea soon lose their germination.
In the absence of the need to collect seeds, the inflorescence with a part of the stem to the first leaf is cut off after flowering. This keeps the plant strong and allows it to bloom more magnificently.
Diseases and pests
Echinacea is a strong flower with high immunity. Adverse weather conditions or mistakes in cultivation can provoke a disease or lead to problems with parasites.
- Powdery dew can appear on Echinacea during frequent rains in hot summer, with significant temperature drops during periods of high humidity or from excess nitrogen fertilizers in the soil. The leaves, shoots and stalks of the plant are covered with an unpleasant whitish bloom. The fight against a dangerous disease is carried out using colloidal sulfur or Bordeaux mixture.
- Deformation of peduncles, yellowing and drying of the leaves can cause various viruses. Sick little flowers can not be saved, they are removed from the site and burned. The place where echinacea patients grew was disinfected with a saturated solution of potassium permanganate.
- When fungal diseases on the leaves spots. Minor damage is removed, sprayed with fungicides, such as Topaz or Fundazole. If the fungus is severely affected, diseased plants are removed to prevent the spread of infection.
Bugs, slobbery, snails and slugs can damage echinacea. Mollusks are harvested by hand, with a large number of gastropods can be fought with the help of traps. On the ground, set small tanks with beer and cover them with slate or boards. From time to time, the covering material is raised and parasites are collected. When mass attacks of various pests use insecticides.
Thanks to the colorful and rather long flowering, Echinacea won the hearts of many gardeners. It is used for growing in gardens and flower beds separately and in groups with other plants. Echinacea inflorescences when cut for a long time retain a decorative appearance, so they are actively used to create charming bouquets.
It is planted for ornamental and medicinal purposes. In Echinacea there are such useful components as: polysaccharides, essential oils, tannins, polyamides, organic acids, resins, inulin, essential and fatty oils, macronutrients and trace elements.
She has long petals that are narrowed to the edges. At Echinacea inflorescence type - basket, which diameter is 5 centimeters. The leaves are green, rosette, lanceolate, on the stem placed in a regular manner. The flowers of the plant are mostly purple-pink, but there are also different colors: blue, white, crimson, yellow, red, purple.
Echinacea blooms from summer to late autumn. The fruit of Echinacea achene. It ripens in early September. This plant has more than 30 varieties. Plant height up to 90 centimeters in height. This plant has a creeping root system. Echinacea grows well in dry forests and steppes. It can also be grown at home.
Echinacea tolerates frost well. Also, the plant loves and warmth. It transfers heat well, but during such a period it requires abundant watering of the soil. In general, the plant is not whimsical to the temperature regime.
For irrigation use separated water. This herb is abundantly watered, especially in summer. Spray the leaves as needed. In winter, watering is reduced when the content of the room, and at the street - stop. Before watering Echinacea need to make sure that the earth absorbed all the water. If this rule is not followed, then the plant can get fusarium.
The plant is not capricious on account of moisture. It is badly affected by very dry air. It is recommended to spray the plant with cool water on very hot days.
Do not feed on fertilizers that contain nitrogen and manure. Recommended in the soil to introduce wood ash, humus and compost. Fertilize once a year, in the spring of phosphorus and potassium.
The plant is recommended to replant every two years. The soil should be of medium acidity. Transplant in spring only.
Echinacea: growing from seed at home
Absolutely everyone knows about the healing power of some plants, and many have tested it on themselves more than once. We treat misaligned nerves with tincture of motherwort and valerian, and we drink mint or chamomile tea for insomnia. However, herbal medicine admirers, as a rule, go to the nearest pharmacy for medical fees, and meanwhile you can arrange a real “medicinal garden” on the windowsill.
Echinacea purpurea, a herbaceous perennial of the Astrovye family, arrived in the European garden culture from the east coast of North America, will become a true gem of the phyto collection.
Its original name, which in Greek means “prickly, like a hedgehog”, the overseas guest received for a large pineal middle of inflorescences, and really resembles an angry hedgehog who reared needles, and among the people a bush with bright elegant baskets is often called “American daisy”.
The flower growers of Echinacea are known as an open ground plant, but some enthusiasts have learned to grow it successfully in indoor conditions. It is very convenient - and beautiful, and the “supplier” of valuable useful raw materials is always at hand.
Varieties for indoor growing
In nature, Echinacea purpurea bushes reach a height of more than 1 m. Of course, in the interior of the room such giants will look cumbersome, and they will need a lot of space.
Therefore, for growing on a windowsill, it is recommended to choose compact small varieties of the crop, such as Little Giant (purple-purple), Raspberry Tart (red-purple-orange), Kim’s Knee High (soft-pink).
Growing echinacea from seeds is not a tiresome process, however some subtleties should be considered:
- Prepare a light nutrient substrate of garden soil, humus and sand (1: 1: 1). For disinfection purposes, be sure to sterilize the mixture obtained using any method available: in a water bath or in a hot oven.
- Fill the low container with the disinfected soil.
- Cover the seeds of echinacea to a depth of 0.5 cm and spray the soil surface with separated water through a spray bottle.
- Leave the crop tank in a cool (about +13 ° C) bright place.
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With germination, echinacea seeds are not in a hurry, sometimes shoots have to wait a month and a half.
When the sprouts are full and become stronger, they will only have to be seated in separate flower pots and provide them with minimal care.
Your young “American daisies” will enter bloom only in the second year, but some especially “nimble” and well-developed specimens can form the first baskets this fall.
Conditions of detention
In order for the seedlings to grow and develop well, they should be arranged on a sunny window sill on the south or south-east side, although in the light part of the shade the seedling will not experience any inconvenience. In the warm season, the “American daisies” will be comfortable in the open air - on the veranda or balcony.
In late August, the pots of plants are brought into the house and, in any case, treated with strong garlic infusion. This measure will protect Echinacea from parasites, which she could easily “pick up” on the street.
For wintering, the room “American chamomile” is determined in a light cool (+ 12 ... + 14 ° C) room. During the rest period, watering the flower is reduced to a minimum, and feeding is canceled.
In unaccustomed conditions, Echinacea feels well and does not require increased attention to his person:
- Watering the "American" often and abundantly, but do not allow at the same time a long stagnant moisture, otherwise the roots will rot. Water is best served in the evening.
- From the second year of life, it is recommended to feed the flower twice per season with compost-ash infusion.
- Echinacea is hardly damaged by pests, but if aphids or thrips move to the neighboring inhabitants of the window sill, measures will have to be taken. If you plan to collect medicinal raw materials, in any case do not treat the plant with industrial insecticides. The available tools will do a great job with parasites: strong infusion of garlic, decoction of onion peel or potato tops.
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For high-quality and abundant flowering, faded baskets must be removed, and before harvesting for the winter, all the old shoots will have to be cut off, but the leaf outlet must remain untouched.
Collection and storage of raw materials
Echinacea can rightfully be awarded the title of folk healer, because the content of polysaccharides, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, phytosterols, resins, essential oils and organic acids has no equal.
The unique composition provides wound healing, immunomodulatory, antimicrobial and antifungal properties of the culture. In Germany, the drug "Ekhinatsin" is prescribed for angina, tonsillitis, chroniosepsis and other inflammatory diseases.
In folk medicine is widely used alcoholic tincture of echinacea flowers, which increases the potency and healing burns. A decoction of the roots of "American chamomile" is useful to drink during outbreaks of influenza, because it perfectly increases the body's resistance.
The use of echinacea inside helps to improve blood clotting. And from her fresh leaves a wonderful vitamin salad is made. The recipe is simple: cut or tear your hands with the herbs of the wonderful daisy, add chopped dill, parsley and any seasonal vegetables. Season the mix with olive oil and invite guests.
This salad is useful for avitaminosis, anemia, migraines and chronic fatigue. Будьте осторожны: употребление препаратов на основе эхинацеи противопоказано при лейкозах, беременности и лактации, рассеянном склерозе и прогрессирующей форме туберкулеза.
Вот такая замечательная «звезда прерий». Но! При всей своей пользе эхинацея – вовсе не лекарство от всех болезней, поэтому перед применением чудодейственных снадобий обязательно проконсультируйтесь с врачом.