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Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Giant’

Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Giant’

Echinacea purpurea 'Ruby Giant' can be found in the main borders at Harlow Carr.

It has red-purple flowers that fade to grey-purple. The flowering stems are erect, hairy, stout and stiff but do need staking for best effect. It is free flowering, with flowerheads 10cm (4in) across.

Vital statistics

Common name
Purple cone flower
Family
Asteraceae
Height & spread
1m x 1m (39in x 39in)
Form
Deciduous perennial
Soil
Well-drained, chalk, loam or sand.
Aspect
East, west or south facing, exposed or sheltered.
Hardiness
Fully hardy

Echinacea

This is a genus of approximately nine species of erect, clump-forming, rhizomatous perennials with simple or pinnately-lobed leaves and solitary, long-stalked daisies with prominent, conical central disks.

They are found in dry prairies, gravely hillsides and open woodland in central and eastern North America.

The name Echinacea comes from the Greek word ěchīnos, a hedgehog, in reference to the prickly scales of the receptacle. The thick black roots are edible and have a pungent flavour. The dried root is said to boost the immune system and is widely sold and used as a preventative measure against colds.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Giant’

This species is an upright perennial with coarsely hairy, ovate or lance-shaped leaves and solitary flowerheads with slightly reflexed, light purple rays and a brown central disk.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Giant’ has red-purple flowers that fade to grey-purple. The flowering stems are erect, hairy, stout and stiff but do need staking for best effect. It is free flowering, with flowerheads 10cm (4in) across with single, flat to slightly reflexed petals. Its cones can be up to 5cm (2in) tall and 4.5cm (11/2in) wide.

Cultivation

  • Grow in deep, well-drained, humus-rich soil in full sun or partial shade.
  • Cut back stems as the blooms fade to encourage further flower production.
  • Generally free from pests and disease.

Propagation

  • Divide in autumn or spring, although they resent a lot of disturbance.
  • Make root cuttings from late autumn to early winter.
  • Sow seed at 13°C (55°F) in spring.
     

AGM

The RHS Floral Trials Subcommittee awarded Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Giant’ an Award of Garden Merit describing it:

"Huge flower, marvellous colour with very large cones. Needs staking. Distinct. Novelty. Very tactile. "

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