Aster yellows is caused by a tiny organism called a phytoplasma. The phytoplasma is spread from plant to plant by leafhoppers, which feed on the sap of the plants. Since no treatment is available to save an infected Echinacea, Aster yellows is best managed by removing infected plants and controlling leafhopper populations.
Great article! Aster Yellows took all of my echinacea a couple years ago. I haven't planted any more yet. I joined this cubit because I am thinking of trying them again. But I still vividly remember how heartbreaking it was to lose all of my echinacea.
Are there cultivars of echinacea that are less likely to get this disease?
I have noticed that Echinacea tennesseensis never seems to get it. I've also never seen Echinacea paradoxa with it. I've also never seen Echinacea pallida with it. If you notice, the leaves of Echinacea purpurea are smoother than these species. The leafhoppers seem to hate these plants with rougher leaves and hairy stems. It's something to consider when growing these.
It's usually either Echinacea purpurea or the hybrids involving it that get it.
Strange now that I think about it. I will add this information to the article.
I've had this in a few of my plants over the years. Luckily I destroyed the plants before it spread to all of them. I was happy to read the preventative steps you offered. Thanks for the good article. Your "title" picture of the all green one with Aster Yellows is the most severe case I've even seen.