Echinacea Pallida Ground Cover
Echinacea Pallida (Coneflower)
Echinacea Pallida have distinctive large, pale pink, daisy-like coneflowers with prominent, burnt orange centres. The petals are long and linear and are narrower than some of the more common Echinacea, growing in a gently drooping fashion down from the tall central cone. They are heat and drought resistant, easy to grow, bloom for months, make great cut flowers, and attract birds and all pollinators. Their leaves appear in early April and are attractively lance shaped and dark green with a slightly hairy texture. The flowers follow in June and last through to September – deadhead spent flowers to encourage new blooms (you could leave the seed heads in Autumn for the birds!).
Adding statuesque colour to a perennial prairie style garden, Echinacea Pallida ground cover will add splashes of colour when planted towards the back of a border with their stiffly upright stems. Plant them in full sun with Rudbeckia, Verbena, grasses or hardy Geraniums for a wonderful long flowering show of colour. They are also known for their use in herbal medicine, for centuries having been used to help recovery from the common cold and respiratory infections.
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Ideally grow Echinacea Pallida ground cover in full sun for maximum colour, though they will tolerate partial shade. They will happily thrive in most soils so long as they are well-drained. Cut back any dead flowers and foliage in spring to allow for new growth. Once established they are fully hardy. Over time clumps can become congested so split these into two or three plants in late Autumn or early Spring and they will last for years.
As a rough guide when planting Echinacea Pallida as ground cover – 4 plants per square metre is adequate with a little patience, 6 will give better coverage, and 9-12 will make a weed supressing carpet very quickly.
How to grow Echinacea Pallida
Position: Full sun
Soil and site: Well-drained – almost any soil except waterlogged
Flowering time: Mid-late Summer to late Autumn
Growth rate: Moderate
Ultimate height and spread: Height to 125cm, spread to 50cm
Hardiness: Fully hardy once established
Aftercare: In early Spring cut back the flowered shoots and any dead foliage to ground level. After pruning feed with bonemeal and apply a generous mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant. Split congested clumps every few years in Autumn or early Spring.