Color interpretation is a highly subjective thing. I have personally
never seen an albino example of E. purpurea that can match say, a shasta
daisy as far as whiteness goes (not that I care much for shasta
daisies...I greatly prefer a white coneflower). E. purpurea is a highly
variable plant regarding ligule color...temperature, soil conditions and
precipitation all affect ligule development. There is also a good bit of
color variability among the different albino cultivars. 'White Swan' is
one of the whiter ones. The somewhat less common 'Alba' on the other
hand, is more of a pale yellow-green color (probably the reason it's
less common). As far as the purple types being insipid, most do have
that washed out appearance, though some cultivars like 'Ruby Star' are
much improved in that regard. As far as plant vigor, the albino
cultivars are undeniably less vigorous than the common purple varieties
as a whole (you would be hard-pressed to find an authoritative source
that states otherwise), though they still do pretty good. Wild E.
purpurea is a *very* vigorous plant.
I'm in zone 3 and I've noticed that over the past 4 yrs my White swan gets
whiter and whiter. It used to be more yellowish now very white. Some of the
smaller flowers that develop later int he year are more yellowish - but the
big ones are definitely white.
Since they are prolific here in my climate and produce flowers most of the year,
if I keep the pinks and purple deadheaded, I have a pretty decent color. I have
taken to scattering seed everywhere and I have pretty much an entire garden full
of it. I dig many out and pot them up in spring for people who trade at the
garden clubs. For some reason, they love when I bring E.purpurea and E.pallida.
To me these are very common, but to them, well, they love them.
My purple ones are picture perfect for most of the summer, getting
that washed out color only at the end of the growing season.
They are listed as drought tolerant and I've found that's what they
like best - well drained soil and just enough water to keep them
alive. IMHO, too much water seems to affect growth & appearance.
I do live in the south. The nursery where I bought my plants (NC) had
a large variety of echinacea, many of them with blooms. I was
impressed with the White Swan because it's blooms were pure white so I
decided to try them.
Assuming that all the plants involved are E. purpurea and not some other
species of Echinacea like E. pallida or E. angustifolia, they will
readily cross-pollinate with each other. What varieties are the 'red'
and 'white' plants? Presumably the white plants are 'Alba' or 'White
Swan' or some other common albino cultivar. White coneflower cultivars
are typically less vigorous than purple varieties. I would expect the
crosses between your regular coneflowers and the 'red' variety to be of
normal vigor though. The actual plants you put in the ground should
retain their variety traits, although you can expect them to produce
quite variable progeny via seed. If you deadhead immediately after the
bracts turn black, you don't have to worry about self-seeding. Don't be
surprised if the white plants 'fade' after several seasons. If you
haven't stuck them in the ground yet, I would suggest getting rid of the
whites altogether and replacing them with a pigmented variety, or some
shasta daisies or something.
The plants themselves will stay whatever color they were. They are perennials.
The only part of the plant which will produce other colors will be the seeds,
but the Echinacea purpurea PLANT will stay the same. I've not heard of red,
where did you get red Echniacea? Oh, unless, of course, common names...and all.
On 11 Nov 2003 17:53:13 -0800, email@example.com (Enuf) opined:
That's it - Ruby Star and White Swan. If they tend to cross, I'll keep
them separated. Would about 50 ft. separation work, or will the bees &
butterflies cross pollinate them at any distance?
Right now,I'm thinking a bed of red & white coneflowers along with
blue russian sage. Since my soil tends to be dry, that combination
should work together.
On 12 Nov 2003 16:58:25 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (Enuf) opined:
The plant will remain the same, it's the seeds which will hybridize, possibly.
Just plant them where you want. If you notice seeds germinating, either let
them come up to see what you have, or pull the plants and move those. The
original plants will not change from their original color.
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