Echinacea tennesseensis ‘Rocky Top’
Echinacea tenesseensis ‘Rocky Top’ is a refined and dainty Coneflower, very different to the usual.
A very different Coneflower
Because it has very fine rayed petals, and an altogether more slender and fine look.
Unusually the petals cup upwards around the cone, rather than reflexing back like most Coneflowers.
And the petals are shaded in lovely tones of rose-purple, instead of being a solid colour.
While the central cones are copper-orange, deepening to black as they mature.
Making cups full of delightful colour blends.
Dainty refined cups of flowers
Though it has such different flowers, it is equally as hardy, water-wise and easy to grow as all the other more common coneflower cultivars and E. purpurea types.
Profuse & long blooming
The delightful Tennessee Coneflower bears a profusion of beautifully shaded blooms.
And for a much longer period than many other Coneflowers.
As it begins blooming earlier in spring, while most others do not commence until summer, and continues on through summer and autumn to finish with the rest.
So the blooms are excellent for both cutting and garden display for months on end.
And the foliage is finer and prettily cut, rather than being solid leaves.
Great cut fresh flowers or dried
Cut blooms are very useful fresh in a vase, where they last for ages.
Or for dried for arrangements and pot-pourri.
While the wonderful central cones are bronze at first, then turn black as the seed matures. And these are also very decorative when dried.
Plus a great help to our feathered friends in the winter, when seed eating birds love to feast from seed heads you have helpfully left to over-winter on your plants.
Water-wise & dry hardy
Echinacea tenesseensis ‘Rocky Top’ is an excellent water-wise choice for gardeners conscious of using minimal water.
And some gardeners claim it to be even more hardy than the rest of the Echinacea clan, as well as more choice.
Once established, Echinacea can withstand periods of dry and heat well.
And thrive in average soil or hot, dry conditions.
They are frost hardy and enjoy full sun to light shade.
(See “Growing” section below for details).
Echinacea tenesseensis ‘Rocky Top’ makes a very pretty, but hardy, perennial clump.
75cm. Tall in flower and cone x 45cm. Wide neat clump of foliage.
SEED SOWING ADVICE: QUICK & EASY
Sow at any time of year in punnets indoors / or scatter in garden late winter & spring or late summer & autumn.
INDOORS: Sow in punnets on surface of good quality seed raising mix, moistened through.
Press gently to ensure good contact with the mix.
Light is needed for germination, so only barely cover the seeds.
Now thoroughly moisten the punnet by standing in a shallow water bath.
And allowing the moisture to percolate to the surface of the mix from below.
Now stand the punnet in a warm, well-lit position (not in direct sunlight)
Continue to keep moist by misting with a spray water bottle.
Temperatures of 20-24°C approx. are ideal for rapid and optimum germination.
Germination may start in just 5 days and may take up to 20 days.
Echinacea will flower in 11 to 15 weeks from sowing so flowers are possible in the first year grown from seed.
Prick out the seedlings once they large enough to handle.
And transplant into 7.5cm pots to grow on before planting out in spring in well drained soil.
SEED COUNT: 12 seeds per pack approx. rarely available in Australia, but should be.
(We always aim to exceed the stated seed count, and give a generous serve).
GROWING: Echinacea tenesseensis ‘Rocky Top’
– Height with flowers: Blooms over summer and autumn on strong, weatherproof stems to approx. 75cm. high.
– Width: Neat, tight, evergreen clump of prettily cut foliage to a diameter of 45cm. approx.
– Position: Echinacea are hardy growers in Full Sun, though they can also tolerate and perform well in some Partial Shade. As long as they are well drained and not in damp shade.
Easily pleased, unfussy plants
– Soil: Echinacea are considered very easy to please plants.
Because they will happily tolerate poor, rocky soil, sandy or dry soils, as well as normal, average garden soil.
So they perform better when they are not overfed or pampered with rich soil.
Unfussy Echinacea can also can tolerate clay soils as long as they do not remain wet and mucky.
Plus they are tolerant of alkaline, lime soils.
– Frost: Echinacea are very frost hardy, as they can tolerate hard frosts to below -20C.
– Humidity: Echinacea also tolerate summer humidity well.
– Water-wise: Echinacea are excellent water-wise perennials, because they have a low water need once established.
– Fragrance: Echinacea are magnificent and long lasting cut flowers, even though they have little to no scent.
– Growth: Echinacea make a neat, hardy, evergreen perennial clump.
– Bees & birds: Nectar rich cones provide much needed energy food over the warmer months for bees and butterflies. Then if you leave the decorative cones to dry, they will also provide seed for small birds into winter.
Easy, low care
– Care: Echinacea are very easy care, low maintenance plants.
They are rarely if ever troubled by pests or diseases.
The only possible maintenance work is to harvest the flower stems for flower vases, or to tidy off the spent flower stems at the end of autumn (though leave the cones to dry into winter if you wish to attract small seed eating birds to your garden).
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Echinacea are fortunately not particularly attractive to either rabbits or deer, and Echinacea tenesseensis seems particularly unattractive to deer.
– Origin: Echinacea are native to the prairies of Eastern and Central North America, where they grow in a very wide range of conditions. This of course accounts for their hardiness and unfussy nature in the garden. No prizes for guessing Echinacea tenesseensis is native to Tenneseee.
And a pet Hedgehog
The botanical name for Echinacea comes from the Greek for prickly Hedgehog.
Of course this refers to the decorative cones. But don’t worry – the cones are not prickly and just irresistible to pat.
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