Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Love those Coneflowers....but....

You all know how I love cone-
flowers!
I have them growing all around the pond now.
This is my newest one: Tomato Soup. It is just starting to bloom.
This is Hot Papaya. I know the original Purple Cone-
flowers are the best, but this hybrid was planted last year and look how beautiful it is this year!
I dug a few purple up last year and started them along the little pathway behind the patio..




..and I noticed they are starting to naturalize in this area now. Yea!! However, if you will remember last year I did a post on all my Coneflower woes. Since that time, several gardeners have commented on having similar problems. Basically here was the issue: the heads of the flowers got a tar-like look on one side; then the flowers just kind of fell apart, or did not continue to develop. Trying to find the cause, I discovered little worms in the seed heads. I had comments from people in Canada and Nebraska, all the way down here to Texas. Well--the same thing started to happen to mine earlier in spring. I decided to keep a careful watch on the flowers to see if I could determine the problem. As I watched, I began to see these bugs that looked like yellow lady bugs flying all over the coneflowers and coreopsis. After a while, I began to notice that tar looking head again, and after digging into it, I found the same greenish worm I found last year.
I never got a picture of the bug, but this is the closest thing on the Internet I could find. This is a "cucumber beetle." However, after reading about the larvae of this kind of beetle, I don't think this is it. (The larvae attack the roots) There is also a type of beetle called "asian beetle." I didn't think the description fit either. Then there was the "squash bug beetle." One picture looked like it might be the culprit...but again the description did not match my problem. So...folks I just don't have an answer for you. I did use insecticide soap on the flowers, and if I sprayed it heavily, it did seem to work. I also cut off the flowers that were damaged. Once the spring rains stopped, and the high temperatures hit--the problem seemed to go away. Looking back, I think that is exactly what I remember happening last year.
Wish I had better news for you coneflower lovers out there. The bees and butterflies love the flowers as much as I do, so I suppose I will just keep on researching and watching. But in the meantime...I am still in love with coneflowers!

Note: I did some research on aster yellows disease because it is one thing coneflowers are known to get. (It is spread by leafhoppers) However, I did not think it fit my situation. Here is a link to an article that gives good information and a picture that could be some help. Let us know if those of you with coneflower problems solve the mystery!
http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Pests/Diseases/astryel2.htm

15 comments:

Lola said...

Beautiful blooms. Sorry you are having the "bug" problem. I like the Cone flowers but haven't gotten them yet. Maybe I could put a couple in my newly finished Back Corner Garden. I do have some veggies mixed in now till I decide what all I will put there besides the Crepe Myrtle, Flowering Almond & Gardenia. Gardenia is special as brother brought it to me 2 yrs ago & it had 3 blooms on it this yr. Yea.

Lola said...

Do you have the dollar weed problem?

Meadowview Thymes said...

Lola--coneflowers need lots of sun, so if you get any make sure to put them in a sunny spot.
We don't have dollar weed...yet... I am sure it is just a matter of time! :)

Msrobin said...

Basic purple coneflowers are my favorite too, and mine are not blooming yet. I'll keep my fingers crossed for better results than yours!

CiNdEe said...

I had all the newer coneflowers at one time and they all died. I did not notice a bug on them though but they could have had them and I didn't see it. I still have a small group of purple ones though and keep thinking about trying again. Yours are really cool!

meemsnyc said...

I love those flowers too, but how annoying that the bugs love them also. Do you think that spraying with organic pesticide could solve the bug problem?

perennialgardener said...

Sorry that problem is cropping up again with your beloved Coneflowers. Keep us updated if you find out any more info. I love your two newbies. :)

tina said...

Oh gosh, those awful bugs. I tried to find an answer too but to no avail. I'm glad it is clearing up.

Meadowview Thymes said...

Good morning everyone!

Thanks Ms Robin for the wishes of luck. I really think the flowers look better...ugh..with this hotter weather. Hope to see pictures of yours soon! :)

Cindee--I think I try all the new hybrids I see in garden centers..usually without luck. The Hot Papaya looks good, and so does the White Swan (that I forgot to mention). I don't know why some of us are getting the worm problems..mystery to me!

Meemsync--I read that NEEM oil MAY work. I try to be so careful because of all the bees and butterflies..but I really would be ok using that I think. The soap works so/so. I just have to spray a lot. Hopefully the problems are over for this year.

Racquel--I will let you all know if I find the answer. You would think a MG could find a solution, but I searched everywhere I knew to look, and couldn't find anything!
Glad you like the new flowers!

Tina--I even asked when I was in MG class last year and no one knew. Everyone kept telling me coneflowers are insect resistant..well, not mine! :)
Hope you are having a good summer!

Harry said...

I almost, almost, almost ordered Tomato Soup this spring for my garden. Even had it in my cart a couple of times and backed out after reading about problems some people had. And, I found a substitute that would serve the same purpose for me - Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy'. So I'm trying that this year, and may still get Tomato Soup later.

Meadowview Thymes said...

Harry--to be very honest with you...I don't think Tomato Soup is all that pretty. Also, it was expensive and not at all big. (My hope is that is will grow up to be like hot papaya.) The color is nice, but I am such a Rudbeckia fan, I would much rather have that flower in red. I have heard of the cherry--but have never seen it in a garden center. I am guessing you ordered it online???

Balisha said...

Sorry you are having a problem with coneflowers. You were saying that they love full sun...I have found that to be true too, but Elizabeth, up the road from me, has them all across the front of her very wooded property. They are so thick and just a mass of light purple every summer. They seem to be quite healthy...tho in the shade. I do love that Hot Papaya.
Have a nice day today...Balisha

Meadowview Thymes said...

Balisha--I have seen a few coneflowers in the shade, and they all are that pale pink color. Wonder if the flowers down here are more heat lovers because of our weather--perhaps a different cultivar. I sure would like to see a picture of your neighbors flowers. That sounds lovely! :)

Lola said...

What is the plant in the 2nd pic that is behind & to the right of the concrete basket with bird? It looks to have roundish leaves.

Meadowview Thymes said...

Lola--that is a bog plant "Water Penny." The pond is to the left, you can just see the rocks in that picture. That plant is growing in the shallow part of the rocks around the pond. I got it at a water garden store. I bet it is a "kissing cousin" of dollar weed given the name, although it looks like it might have larger foliage. We don't have any growing in our lawn though.
Good eye! :)