Many perennial enthusiasts and hobby gardeners love the colorful and robust Echinacea plant. And for many good reasons. This perennial is also said to have immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory effects, which has made it one of the best-known medicinal plants in recent years. In the form of tinctures, solutions, juices, tablets and ointments, Echinacea is becoming increasingly popular and is often recommended by naturopaths and homeopaths in particular. Below you will find the most important care tips if you want to plant the great plant in your own garden as well as more about its healing powers.
The Echinacea plant is one of the most beautiful perennials in Germany
Name and origin of the Echinacea plant
Although the plant is similar to the common coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida), its much more correct name “Scheinsonnenhut” has already established itself in Germany. The Echinacea is also called Red Coneflower, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) or Hedgehog Head. The plant owes its scientific name to the Greek word “echinos”, which actually means sea urchins.
The botanists have chosen the name very well, because the flower head of the Echinacea looks exactly the same, round and slightly prickly.
The plant belongs to the daisy family (Asteraceae) and originally comes from the prairies of Central and North America. Since then, the indigenous people have used and honored them as medicinal plants. Nowadays, in addition to the old Echinacea varieties, there are also over 100 newer ones that have been produced as hybrids by numerous international herbaceous growers.
For example, some varieties have red and orange petals
Location and soil
The Echinacea plant loves sunny to partially shaded areas. The soil should be moderately moist, but the perennial doesn’t mind occasional drought either. Waterlogging should be avoided. The sham sun hat also likes loamy and sandy. The plant is also quite tolerant of lime. Although fairly frugal and robust, it thrives best in humus and nutrient-rich soil that is still slightly alkaline or slightly acidic. In borders, on the fence, in prairie or farm gardens, the Echinacea can be perfectly combined with many other perennials, flowers and ornamental grasses. Some of the best partners of the hedgehog head are: scented nettle, spider flowers, common coneflower, goldenrods, asters, stonecrop, zinnias and cosmeas.
Other medicinal herbs and colorful perennials also stand beautifully next to the Echinacea plant
Watering, fertilizing and multiplying
You should not water too often to avoid waterlogging. However, one should also avoid drying out of the floor. Moderately damp is the best solution here. The plant hardly needs fertilization. Only in spring should you add some compost to the soil, so that the flowers turn out stronger from July to September. Although the Echinacea is hardy, you should only plant it with seeds or cuttings in spring, when the frost is completely gone and the temperatures rise above 15 degrees. Every few years you can also refresh the perennial by dividing the roots in September / October and planting them elsewhere.
The perennials will thank you with wonderful flowers
Pests and diseases
The Echinacea doesn’t have many enemies. Actually, it is almost exclusively the snails that are troubling the plant. Especially in the rainy weather in spring and summer, the animals easily come to the foliage of the sun hat and often destroy a large part of it. You should therefore be on the lookout for it and either pick up the snails or fight them with natural means.
And when it comes to diseases that are dangerous for the Echinacea perennial, you should pay particular attention to powdery mildew. When a plant becomes ill, its leaves look as if they have been dusted with flour, hence the name. It is a fungus that can develop in excessive moisture. Therefore, be very careful when watering and if you notice floury leaves, remove them in good time.
The Echinacea plant is an extremely bee-friendly perennial that also attracts other insects
Echinacea as a medicinal plant
As mentioned at the beginning, the Echinacea plant has the reputation of being able to strengthen the immune system. In fact, the positive effects of preparations from the parts of the plant for a cold have already been proven. Nevertheless, you should not overdo it and be careful with allergies and serious illnesses. In general, the purple sun hat is considered to be wound healing and anti-inflammatory, especially for infections of the respiratory and urinary tract. This is due to the valuable ingredients of the plant, such as the various essential oils, caffeic acid derivatives such as cichoria acid, as well as the numerous alkamides.
The Echinacea tincture is one of the widely used and well-known remedies
Even the Indians were convinced of the healthy effect of the Echinacea plant and have used it constantly in everyday life. Even if you don’t need or want to use its healing power, you can calmly enjoy its wonderful flowers as an easy-care perennial in your own garden.
The sham sun hat gives every bed a lot of fresh, colorful accents