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Perennial Plant of the Year  1998
Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’

Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ is an outstanding perennial, a bold, sun-loving plant with a long mid-summer bloom that is easy to grow. Purple coneflower is a member of the Asteraceae (Compositae) or sunflower family. Echinacea  purpurea, a native to the mid-western plains of North America, is an upright-growing clump-former with fairy, coarsely-toothed basal leaves up to 6 inches long. Flowers are borne in heads set on stalks up to 4 feet tall. The flower head is made up of a raised central cone of bronze disk flowers surrounded by highly coloured, downward curving ray flowers. Colour in this species ranges from pink to white to carmine. Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ was selected at the nursery of Magnus Nilsson near Paarp, Sweden, just across the strait from Hamlet’s legendary Danish castle at Helsingor. Mr. Nilsson, long enamored of the strength and boldness of Echinacea purpurea, but unhappy with the shuttlecock appearance of the relaxed ray petals, selected flowers that has strong, carmine colours and wide, flat petal displays. His selection efforts were then discovered by Klaus Jelitto who named and introduced ‘Magnus’ to the perennial trade. Magnus Nilsson, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, is still active in his nursery and continues to make improvements on this marvelous cultivar.

Propagation
‘Magnus’ may be propagated by seeds, basal cuttings, root cuttings or division. Seed propagation is the main method of reproducing Echinacea purpurea Echinacea Magnus ‘Magnus’. Cover seeds with a thin layer of medium and press in lightly. Moisten the medium and stratify for 4 weeks at 40 degrees F. Germinate at about 68 degrees F, in moist medium. Germination should occur in about 14 days. Seedlings should be grown at cool temperatures and transplanted after 6-8 weeks. Basal cuttings can be removed in the spring when the shoots are 4-6 inches long and treated with 1000 ppm IBA in powdered form. For root propagation, collect root pieces that are pencil-sized in the late fall or early winter. The root sections closest to the crown of the plant should always be placed upright in the propagation medium. Cover lightly with medium and hold at 60 degrees F. Divide clumps in early spring just as the buds are beginning to swell.

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