This mornings sunrise was a beauty. Watching the gorgeous shades of yellows, pinks and peaches shift through the sky it reminded me of all the shades of coneflowers. There was a time not that long ago when purple coneflowers were pink or white but not any more. Hybridizers have been very busy in the lab with the coneflower and have introduced numerous new cultivars of amazing color tones. Gardening in zone 5 I find most of them have retained their original hardiness except for a few, which tend to lag behind the rest. In some ways the original cultivars are still the most reliable year after year, due to the fact that they reseed themselves while the new cultivars do not, but the new introductions are lovely and fun to add to the perennial border.
Following is a list of the some of the new cultivars coneflower echinacea and my experience with them. Those of you in warmer climates will no doubt have stronger results.
Echinacea ‘Green Envy’
5 inch bloom with dark cone, pink spoon shaped petals towards cone blending out to lime green, zones 5-9
Echinacea ‘Pink Poodle’
One of the best new double forms with large fluffy flowers, magenta
Echinacea ‘Coconut Lime’
Another anemone-flowered double with soft greenish-white pompoms.
Echinacea ‘Cotton Candy’
Anemone-flowered, has a central powder puff surrounded by longer petals, has been reliable as a repeat bloomer
Echinacea ‘All that Jazz’
Spoon shaped quilled petals, solid lavender pink, have been reliable
Echinacea ‘Double Decker’
A very unusual flower, large magenta blooms with a second set of petals forming on top of a dark crown, has not been that successful in my garden
Echinacea ‘ Kim Knee High’
A dwarf variety at only 18 inches tall, lots of smaller rose-pink blooms, very hardy
Sturdy and vigorous with orange flowers and dark cone, I really like this one
Large 5 inch flowers of rich yellow which mature to a pale shade of lemon,another success for me
Echinacea ‘Tiki Torch’
Bright orange flowers and lots of them, looks good planted with blues and purples
The purple coneflower prefers full sun and most bloom mid summer though to early fall. They are deer resistant due to their raspy leaves and attract bees and hummingbirds. Although relatively drought tolerant they seem to perform better with adequate water. They make great cut flowers and naturalize well.