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Rudbechia or Echinacea purpurea is a perennial herbaceous plant native to North America, with large daisy-shaped, purple or, more rarely, white flowers. It is also called red coneflower. It belongs to the family of composites and is widespread in our latitudes due to its ease of cultivation.
It consists of large cushions of glossy and elongated leaves from which large showy flowers branch off, supported by long stems, with numerous purple petals and a central dark dome-shaped, almost black button. It blooms in summer. The leaves, flowers and roots of rudbechia are used in herbal medicine for the amount of essential oils they contain.
The rudbechia plants love very sunny positions, they adapt to the half-shade but they must be able to enjoy a few hours of direct brightness a day in order to produce a good quantity of flowers; if planted in the shade they grow well but produce flowers with difficulty.
Red Echinacea has absolutely no fear of cold, even in the harshest winters and is also resistant to the highest temperatures of sultry summers, perfectly adapting to outdoor cultivation, without the need for special protection.
Specimens of Echinacea purpurea need abundant watering, so the soil should be kept as moist as possible, watering every week, without allowing water to form which can be harmful. Drought quickly causes the withering of the leaves and compromises flowering. In the winter season, instead, the red Echinacea does not need particular watering and can be satisfied with rainwater.
To obtain a more abundant flowering, add fertilizer for flowering plants to the irrigation water every 15-20 days.
This particular variety of plants does not have any particular problems regarding the soil, provided it is well drained, as water stagnation can be harmful to the plant's roots. The ideal composition to get the best from this kind of plant is formed by a compound of peat and sand, to have a soil that guarantees the correct degree of drainage.
The multiplication to obtain new specimens of this variety occurs by seed in spring, the new seedlings bloom after at least a year.
In autumn the Echinacea purpurea seedlings planted in spring are planted or the tufts are divided, at the base of which every 2-3 years new plants are developed, which must be planted immediately after the division from the mother plant without having to grow them in container to avoid a new transplant, in this case the new plants will bloom already the following summer.
Rudbechia, red coneflower - Echinacea purpurea: Pests and diseases
being a very rustic plant it does not fear diseases and parasites, although sometimes aphids and gray mold can compromise the appearance of flowers and leaves, without however significantly damaging the plant. In the event that problems are noted, it is advisable to intervene with the use of specific products, including natural ones, to counteract the problem or, in the most serious cases, by eliminating the damaged parts.