Both Echinacea and Rudbeckia like the same type of soil, water conditions and light, so it’s easy to grow them together in groups. Although the soil conditions don’t have to be great, your perennials will thrive if you give your soil a little love and care before planting. I always add compost to the planting spot and work it in to loosen the soil. Plant these long living jewels about 1 ft apart and water in well. They will spread over the years, so give them some room. I don’t like to grow these in pots. The first year they are establishing their root system so they will require plenty of water to get them off to a good start. Evenly moist soil will do the trick. After about a year they can dry out in between watering without any damage. Planting them in full sun will give them the best blooms, but even a little shade they will tolerate. The great gift of these perennials is that they usually bloom beautifully the first year, so they don’t necessarily follow the old rule of perennials, Which is: The first year they sleep, the second they creep, and the third they leap. Both of these varieties bloom from summer till frost, assuming you give them a little bit of care of deadheading them. Just simply clip off the spent, or almost spent flowers just above the next bud in line. This will keep your plant looking fabulous and healthy. Perennials, including both Rudbeckia and Echinacea are considered low maintenance, but not, no maintenance. Everything needs a little love, care and nourishment to remain happy. After frost, cut them back to ground level. Make sure they are marked so you don’t disturb the roots while dormant. `Rudbeckia and Echinacea both make great cut flowers too! What a pretty center piece for a casual outside dinner. I like to feed mine an organic flower food during bloom time, but once seems to be plenty during the season with an application of compost every spring. Few pests seem to enjoy feasting on the flowers, but grasshoppers like the leaves, so pay attention early. As an extra, butterflies are often found spending a leisure afternoon on the tantalizing flowers. What a picture!
If you haven’t already found a spot to plant two new favorites I’m sure you will enjoy for years to come, do it this evening, or heck…NOW!