Purple Cone Flower

Greetings all, Over this past weekend, I bought a small "purple cone flower" plant at my local nursery to add to my little butterfly garden. I planted it as per the instructions of the guy at the nursery. I dug out a small hole, then put the plant in, then filled in with a little more soil. Then I watered it a little. The next day, the plant had shriveled up a little, and just didn't look well. I had read that you weren't supposed to water them too much. But, we have had blistering heat here in NY this week, so I though maybe that was the problem. I felt the leaves and flowers and they felt very dried out. So, I watered it twice today, and that seemed to perk up the plant a little. Any advice on this? Thanks in advance, as always!
Darren
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Just about anything planted in the last few weeks will be drooping with the current high temperatures.
I'd soak real good every day for a week then every other day for a week then once a week. Perhaps a little temporary shade for a hour or three would be in order till the weather normalizes some. Hopefully soon.
Guess you know cone flowers come in many colors now.
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Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden
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My Echinacea purpurea are in pots, but they enjoy a good soaking every other day, during the heat of the summer.
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On Mon, 5 Jul 2010 13:40:20 -0700 (PDT), Darren

This is not a good time for planting in NY... here in the Catskills it reached 100F today.... it's been blistering hot and saharan dry for over a week
You may have lousy soil. Should have dug a big hole and added some rich topsoil amended with organic matter. Keep moist (poke your fingers into the soil) and well mulched to slow evaporation... and do not compress the back fill... plants gotta breathe. I'd remove your plant and replant it as described above.
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Darren wrote:

Even desert plants need water when they are first getting established. We have a few coneflower (Echinacea) plants in the yard and they get watered a few times a week, more often when it is very hot. Your plant might also do well if you provide a little shade in this year's heat. These self-seed (not excessively) so I'd make sure when the flowers die that you bend the flower stem so the seeds will fall to the direction where you want more plants.
gloria p
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I myself have never bought potted coneflowers, so this is just transplanting rules-of-thumb. I don't know how small the hole you dug was, but one should leave *more* than enough room for what comes out the container. Roots can be damaged if crammed in any way into their new home. But they also need good soil contact, which is something they have a much better chance at with a good watering-in. That advice you read about overwatering tends to apply more to people who have soils with poor drainage (and to a more than a few unknowledgable houseplant owners). The fact it perked up after adding more water is a pretty good indication that it's just what it needed. After you give it a nice soak, you might even try putting some mulch around it to help keep the the soil from drying out too fast between rains/waterings, maybe help keep the roots cooler in all that heat too.
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That is for established plants. For planting a plant, you should dig a hole bigger than the pot the plant came out of, then fill the hole with water, put the plant in and fill the hole arund the plant. It wouldn't hurt to water again after you've got the plant planted. Mulching around the plant will help hold the moisture it needs. Untill the plant is firmly established, you shoud water it every day. HTH Gloria

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I agree with Gloria on the watering, but you didn't mention what type of soil in which the echinacea is planted. Echinacea likes well drained soils. I lost one, because it was planted in clay. As a result, when it tried to push the following year, the soil was too wet and cold for it to push. If you have clay soil, you should probably do as "brooklin" suggested, and even mound up the earth around it.
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Darren wrote: ...

keep it watered at least once a day until it starts sending up some new growth. then back off the water to every other day as long as this heat persists and we get no rain. once it cools off let it go longer in between watering and keep an eye on it through the fall. if you have planted it in an area that gets bare in the winter consider mulching it after the ground freezes (and remove the mulch as soon as the worst of the winter is over).
these are fairly hearty plants. i never water mine once they are going and they rarely croak. i lost 3 this past year because the management forgot they were there and landscape material'd over them. i could have rescued them, but i know the better part of discretion and valor is to smile nod and agree.
long lasting flowers and the birds love the seeds, plus you will have plenty of volunteers in time. i keep a cone from each type in a paper bag after they are ripe (watch out they are quite pricky if you squeeze them the wrong way) so i have seeds to grow replacements if i need them or to start plants for people who'd like them.
which reminds me, i need to rotate my stock this year as i think these cones are from two years ago.
good luck,
songbird
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Many thanks for all the replies and info. I have been watering it regularly now, and it seems to be reviving. Thanks again.
Darren
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