Easier echinaceas

April 6th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Echinacea 'Sweet Meadow Mama'

Many of us have trouble growing echinaceas. Usually, those with purplish-pink or white flowers are easier than those with yellow or orange flowers which tend to disappear during the winter. It’s because the fiery colours come from a species that we rarely grow because it’s too fussy.

Plant breeders brought the two types together to create new colours but, at least at first, the new colours came with a short life in the garden.

But that was twenty years ago and, over the years, new echinacea varieties have not only became more colourful and more prolific but also better as garden plants.

The latest is the Meadow Mama Series, developed by Europe’s top echinacea specialist. In five different colours, including three lovely bicoloured varieties, they have impact in the border, are much loved by bees and other pollinators, and are more robust than previous varieties.

There are five varieties in the series. ‘Fiery Meadow Mama’ is a red-and-yellow bicolour, ‘Innocent Meadow Mama’ is pure white, ‘Laughing Meadow Mama’ is a red and orange bicolour, ‘Playful Meadow Mama’ is peachy pink with white tips to the petals, and ‘Sweet Meadow Mama’ (above) is raspberry pink with orange overtones. All five are available in the Meadow Mama collection.

Plant them in full sun in well drained soil. Good drainage is more important than rich fertility, but working in some weed-free organic matter is always worthwhile. They will bulk up steadily and give you years of pollinator friendly colour. I grow mine in slightly raised bed to improve the drainage.

With echinaceas, it always pays to grow the latest introductions: the Meadow Mama Series.

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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