The coneflower is a popular perennial in gardens because it is easy to grow and produces large, distinctive flowers. Perhaps most commonly seen in beds is the purple coneflower, or Echinacea purpurea, but did you know there are many other kinds of coneflower? Newer hybrid varieties provide the same durable, easy perennial qualities but with a variety of different flower colors and shapes.
About Echinacea Plants
The genus Echinacea includes a number of species, four of which are common in and native to North America. These include purple coneflower, one of the most commonly used Echinacea plants in home gardens and flower beds. Coneflower varieties are so popular in home gardens because they are easy to grow and because they provide striking flowers in beds. The daisy-like blooms attract pollinators and sit on top of tall stems, growing up to 5 feet (1.5 m.) tall. Coneflower is drought tolerant, requires hardly any maintenance, and is not eaten by deer.
Echinacea Plant Types
Purple coneflower is known for its large purple flowers with prominent spiny cones in the centers. Newer types of coneflower allow you to add other colors to your perennial beds with the same ease of growing as the original. Here are some great examples: ‘Cheyenne Spirit’– This cultivar has won awards. The flowers are bright and include a mix of bright red, cream, orange, and golden yellow. The plants are stockier than the original coneflower and stand up well to windy gardens. ‘Avalanche’– This white variety of coneflower resembles Shasta daisy, but it is much more durable and hardy. It grows well in cooler climates. ‘Tomato Soup’– This descriptive name tells you exactly what color the flower is. Expect rich, reddish flowers in the classic cone shape. ‘Firebird’– The petals of this variety droop down so drastically from the cone that the flower resembles a shuttlecock. The petals are a stunning shade that transitions from orange to magenta. ‘Double Scoop’– There are several cultivars listed as ‘Double Scoop.’ The cones are replaced by a second type of clustered petal. Varieties include ‘Cranberry,’ Raspberry,’ ‘Orangeberry,’ and ‘Bubblegum,’ the names of which describe the petal colors. ‘Greenline’– Another double-petal coneflower, ‘Greenline’ has chartreuse coloring, providing another addition to the green flower trend. ‘Leilani’– This variety produces golden yellow coneflowers on tall, strong stems. These make excellent cut flowers and tolerate hot summers. ‘PowWow Wild Berry’– An award-winner, this cultivar is a prolific bloomer. The abundant flowers are a rich berry pink and will continue to sprout and bloom even without deadheading. ‘Magnus’– For a large flower, try ‘Magnus.’ The blooms are rose to violet in color and about 7 inches (18 cm.) across.
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.
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