Rudbeckia, Echinacea and Gailardia — three sisters
They are often confused by beginners, and in the search engine on the page with pictures there are photos of all three.
They are, indeed, close relatives of the Aster family.
They are related by the area of origin, the shape of the flower and the similarity of color.
They are like three sisters: the two younger ones imitate the older one, but each “monkeys” in its own way.
These three flowers are called rudbeckia, echinacea and gaillardia.
The shortest — gaillardia. Its petals are planted tightly to each other and lie almost in the same plane. But what an unusual color these «suns» have!
Yellow, red (almost purple) and all sorts of combinations…
The plant is medium-sized, the highest varieties reach 70-90 cm, but in the bulk they are branched curtains 30-50 cm high.
The most drought-resistant and long-flowering of all three flowers.
There are about 24 species of gaillardia.
In our gardens you can find beautiful Gaillardia (annual) and perennial species: spinous, hybrid and large-flowered.
Each is represented by a choice of varieties and colors in yellow-red tones and shades.
A separate article is devoted to this flower (link on the right).
Echinacea — flower about a meter high. This is a medicinal plant with miraculous properties. The use of echinacea extract strengthens the human immune system. The shape of a fully bloomed flower resembles a comet.
There are 5 species of this plant and four dozen simply luxurious varieties.
Echinacea differs from rudbeckia in a hard, even prickly, bract (flower cup). The plant is unpretentious, but requires watering during the dry period, hibernates with shelter.
Rudbeckia similar to Gaillardia and Echinacea at the same time. She is the tallest of the three. It can grow up to two meters, although there are species no higher than half a meter.
This is where the breeders did their best. In gardens, you can find varieties of rudbeckia with flowers resembling a comet, chamomile, aster, with an unusual two-tiered “design” of petals, or even without them at all. In America, rudbeckia is called «Suzanne’s black eyes», in England — «lady’s hat.»
This is about form. In color, rudbeckia has much in common with gaillardia. The same yellow-red-purple-orange scale, its mono- and polychrome variations.
Moderate watering and a sunny location will encourage lush flowering. In a cold winter, it can freeze out, so the bush is cut short and covered.
All three species are not particularly demanding on soils. For top dressing during the growing season, nitroammophos will be thanked for lush growth and abundant flowering.
Rudbeckia brilliant (Rudbeckia fulgida)
- area a habitat: North America.
- Height: about 60 cm.
- Flowering period: July-September.
- Color spectrum: golden yellow with a prominent brown center.
- Growing conditions: areas near water bodies, just wet places, in general, the plant is resistant to short-term droughts, but it will thank for watering with abundant flowering, hibernates with shelter.
- Peculiarities: perennial, stems and leaves are smooth, shiny.
- area a habitat: North America
- Height: up to 70 cm.
- Flowering period: mid June — late autumn.
- Color spectrum: yellowth, orangeth
- Growing conditions: loves moist soils and sunny areas, in gardens it often propagates by self-sowing and grows without any care.
- Peculiarities: annual, two rows of reed petals with a purple-black base, the central part of a cylindrical shape, up to 2 cm high and consists of tubular, almost black flowers.
Rudbeckia western (Rudbeckia occidentalis)
- area a habitat: temperate climate zone and subtropics of the western states of the USA, in cultivation since 2002
- Height: 1.2 -1.5 m.
- Flowering period: julyeh-September
- Color spectrum: dark brown, almost black inflorescence cone.
- Growing conditions: in the conditions of Polissya it winters without shelter, for more northern and eastern regions it is better to cover the plant for the winter.
- Peculiarities: perennial, complete absence of extreme petals, only a high central part surrounded by green sepals, cone height 3-5 cm, diameter up to 2 cm. Green Wizard and Black Beauty varieties are popular in cultivation.
Rudbeckia dissected (Rudbeckia laciniata)
- area a habitat: Southern Canada and Eastern USA.
- Height: up to 2 m.
- Flowering period: July — September.
- Color spectrum: yellow flowers
- Growing conditions: in nature, it lives in swampy areas and edges, in gardens in conditions of dense flower beds it quite calmly tolerates drought, within Ukraine it winters without shelter.
- Peculiarities: perennial, lower leaves are pinnately dissected, stem leaves are dissected into three parts, inflorescences up to 10 cm in diameter, consist of several tiers of marginal petals and tubular in the central part. Has terry and semi-double varieties. Of these, the most famous is the «Golden Ball».
Rudbeckia hairy (Hirta) (Rudbeckia hirta)
- area a habitat: North America.
- Height: about a meter, in culture the varieties are shorter.
- Flowering period: June-September.
- Color spectrum: yellow petals.
- Growing conditions: moist soil, sunny places.
- Peculiarities: grown as a one- or two-year-old plant, pubescent stems and leaves, inflorescences-baskets up to 10 cm in diameter, receptacle (core) convex.
- area a habitat: eastern regions of Severnoh Americaand
- Height: 90-100 cm.
- Flowering period: July-September.
- Color spectrum: white, pink.
- Growing conditions: in the first year of life, shelter for the winter with a dry leaf is mandatory, in subsequent years — depending on the region.
- Peculiarities: perennial, medicinal plant, baskets up to 15 cm in diameter.
IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW
Traditionally, rudbeckia and echinacea are considered drought-resistant plants. Partly it is. But if you have chosen an open place for them, then you cannot do without watering during the dry season. This is especially true for young individuals.
THREE SISTERS IN GARDEN DESIGN
Tall varieties of garden «suns» are preferably planted in the background of mixborders along walls and fences. And not only because they are the tallest, just long stems of peduncles require support.
But be that as it may, the most beautiful mixes are obtained from echinacea (rudbeckia) and cereals.
Rudbeckia (echinacea) is traditionally propagated by seeds through seedlings. In the second half of April, the seeds are sown in containers and covered with a film (glass). Seedlings will appear in two weeks. Seedlings are planted in open ground in May-June, provided that the weather is consistently warm outside. This method is applied to annual types of rudbeckia.
You can sow the seeds directly in open ground, but the germination rate will be less. The sowing period is June. The landing site should be moderately moist and well lit, but not too open. Transplantation to a permanent place is done at the end of August — in September. The plant will flower next year. This method is applied to perennial species.
If rudbeckia takes root on the site, then over time it will increase its population by self-sowing and all you need is to recognize and transplant young rosettes in time.
Echinacea and perennial rudbeckia species can be propagated by dividing the rhizome. But the plant must be old enough for this. Usually this method is applied to individuals about 4 years old that require transplantation. For the purpose of rejuvenation, they are divided into smaller bushes and planted in a new place or enrich the soil in the old one.
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