CONEFLOWER

FAMILY: Asteraceae | GENUS: ECHINACEA

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Regular Water
  • Moderate Water

Plant Details

These sun-loving perennials form large clumps of long-stemmed, very showy flowers with drooping to horizontal rays and a beehive- like central cone. Bloom over a long period in summer and may continue sporadically until frost; deadheading prolongs bloom. May start blooming in spring in mild-winter climates. If left in place, the bristly seed heads hang on into winter; finches like the seeds. To make coneflowers last, be sure to plant where drainage is good. Plants should be well established going into winter, preferably planted in spring.

Use on outskirts of garden or in wide borders with other robust perennials such as Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), sunflower (Helianthus), Michaelmas daisy (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii). Seldom bothered by deer.

narrow-leaf coneflower

echinacea angustifolia

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to central U.S. Prairie wildflower to 34 feet high, 2 feet wide.
  • Flowers to 2 inches wide, with pink-to-rosy purple rays drooping from a purple-brown cone.
  • Narrow, bristly leaves to 6 inches long.

yellow coneflower

echinacea hybrids

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Complex crosses have produced hybrid coneflowers that are popular for their vigor and extended color range.
  • Plants in the Big Sky series grow 23 feet high and 2 feet wide; choices include butter-yellow 'Sunrise', bright orange 'Sunset', and reddish orange 'Sundown' ('Evan Saul').
  • Cheyenne Spirit first-year flowering, heavily blooming, drought tolerant, grows to 2 feet 'Adam Saul' ('Crazy Pink') is one of the heaviest bloomers, topping out at only 2 feet tall and wide.
  • Flame Thrower grows 212-3 feet tall and has bright yellow petals flushed with orange near the cone.
  • Heavy bloomer.
  • Green Envy, 23 feet high, has fragrant, lime-green blooms that pick up magenta-purple near the cone as they age.
  • The green cone also fades to purple.
  • Hot Papaya is doubled with a pompon rather than a cone and blooms in mango-red.
  • Mango Meadowbrite grows 23 feet high and wide; orange-yellow petals surround orange-brown centers.
  • Orange Meadowbrite ('Art's Pride') grows about the same size, bears reddish orange flowers.
  • Pixie Meadowbrite grows only about 112 feet tall and a bit wider, with pink, nondrooping petals surrounding a yellow-brown center.
  • The Sombrero series grows to 2 feet and has bold colors on early-blooming, heat-tolerant plants.
  • Tomato Soup has bright red flowers up to 6 inches wide on 2 feet-high plants.
  • Tiki Torch has bright orange-to-rose blooms on a 2- to 212 feet-tall plant.

echinacea paradoxa

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to the Ozarks.
  • To 23 feet high, 2 feet wide.
  • Drooping, yellow to orange-yellow rays surround a brown cone; flowers are about 2 inches wide.
  • Smooth, lance-shaped leaves to 8 inches long.
  • Hybrids involving this and Echinacea purpurea have produced many new colors.

purple coneflower

echinacea purpurea

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to central and eastern North America.
  • Coarse, stiff plant to 45 feet tall, about 2 feet wide, with bristly, oblong leaves 38 inches long.
  • Blossoms reach 23 inches wide, with drooping rosy purple rays and an orange-brown central cone.

Many fine selections are available. 'Coconut Lime' has a double flower, with a single row of large white petals surrounding a tuft of smaller light green petals around the cone. Grows to 23 feet high. 'Doubledecker' ('Doppelganger'), another 2-footer, has something extra: a second set of pink petals emerging from the top of the cone. 'Fragrant Angel' grows 2212 feet high with sweetly scented white flowers. 'Kim's Knee High' grows 1122 feet high and has clear pink flowers. 'Magnus' grows 34 feet tall and has deep purplish pink, orange-centered flowers to 7 inches wide. 'Pink Poodle' produces fully double pink flowers that resemble zinnias. 'Rubinstern' ('Ruby Star') grows 23 feet high with carmine-red, nondrooping rays. Both 'White Lustre' (212 feet high) and 'White Swan' (1122 feet high) have white rays and orange-yellow cones. 'PowWow Wildberry' grows 112 -2 feet tall with pink-purple flowers that bloom heavily the first year.

tennessee coneflower

echinacea tennesseensis

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • From the southeastern U.S. Similar to Echinacea purpurea, but rays are horizontal rather than drooping, and cone is greenish pink.
  • Stems to 1 feet tall.
  • Forms a low, casual mound.
  • This beautiful coneflower is rare and endangered in the wild but is being propagated under permit.
  • Available from a few wildflower nurseries.

Coneflowers generally do not need staking. They perform well in summer heat and tolerate drought. Clumps spread slowly, become crowded after 3 or 4 years. Fleshy rootstocks can be difficult to separate; divide carefully, making sure that each division has a shoot and roots. Plantings can also be increased by taking root cuttings, seeding, or transplanting self-sown seedlings.

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