Different types of coneflowers

Coneflowers have nine species and 60-100 varieties with two species considered endangered. All coneflower varieties have the same daisy-like appearance.

Coneflowers have nine species and 60-100 varieties with two species considered endangered. All coneflower varieties have the same daisy-like appearance. They’re native to the US with Native Americans using them as herbal remedies for toothaches, sore throats, snakebites and blood poisoning. Today they’re used as supplements to boost the immune system and prevent common colds.

Coneflowers produce the unique phenomenon called allelopathy which means it can emit chemicals that would prevent the growth of other competing plants.

Purple Coneflower

Also known as the Echinacea purpurea Pow Wow® Wild Berry, it is a beautiful perennial that grows up to 20 inches in height and does best with full sun and partial shade. The purple petals are eye-catching and attract butterflies and bees. It can be grown even in drought conditions and is resistant to deer. If you make sure that the soil is well-drained, the Purple Coneflower is perfect for large containers, even those that are over three gallons in size. The regular Echinacea purpurea grows up to three feet in height and has similar blooms, except with petals that droop slightly downward. Both varieties are striking and very fragrant, making them very popular indeed.

White Coneflower

Known as Echinacea purpurea White Swan, it has beautiful white petals and a vibrant gold-yellow center. It can grow up to four feet in height and attracts bees, butterflies, and birds. As long as you deadhead the flowers, it is a repeat bloomer and this type of coneflower also can be used as a medicinal herb. It grows well in large pots and its white petals droop slightly, giving it an elegant look.

Echinacea Hot Papaya

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This coneflower is bright red-orange in color with red-orange centers. It consists of both shorter petals around the center and petals that droop underneath the center, giving it a very full look. The Hot Papaya is very fragrant, it grows up to 32 inches in height, and butterflies love it.

Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit

These flowers are a beautiful gold color and have large centers consisting of large elegant-looking spikes. They grow up to 32 inches in height and are deer-resistant. They are attractive to butterflies and can also come in colors that include red, purple, pink, orange, and even cream. The flowers are very showy and fragrant and are therefore very popular among flower lovers.

Echinacea Tomato Soup

The Tomato Soup variety is bright red in color and very fragrant. They grow to 32 inches in height and have sparse petals and a wide, thick center. They are perfect for containers that hold three or more gallons and butterflies love them. Moreover, they look beautiful in bouquets and vases and although they will not come true from seed, the flowers can be divided in order to produce additional blooms.

Echinacea Hot Summer

One of the things that makes this variety so unique is the various colors that it can come in within the same bloom, which include yellow, red, and orange. They have sparse but elegant petals and dark centers and they grow up to four feet tall. The Hot Summer variety grows throughout the summer into early fall and is attractive to butterflies. Although they don’t need to be deadheaded, they often produce additional, constantly changing colors if you follow this procedure. They do best in zones 4 and upward and they are beautiful in bouquets.

Echinacea Pink Double Delight

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These flowers’ beautiful pink petals are showy, fragrant, and perfect as cut flowers. They grow up to 26 inches in height and are deer-resistant. Butterflies love them and they also look great in extra-large containers and pots, including those that are three gallons or larger. They have several layers of petals and a slightly brown center, which makes the petals even more noticeable.

Echinacea purpurea Magnus

This is another purple coneflower and they are perfect for zones 3-9. They grow up to three feet in height and they like soil that is not too wet, even slightly dry. The flowers have leaves that are herbaceous and they are attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds. Their petals are light or rose-pink in color and they are perfect for use as either cut or dried flowers. The Magnus does best if divided in early Spring and if placed in pots, they need excellent drainage.

Echinacea purpurea Coconut Lime

The Coconut Lime’s petals are whitish-yellow and droop around the center, which is large, wide, and lime green in color. The flowers are deer-resistant and very tolerant of dry conditions, even droughts. Butterflies love them and they are very striking and fragrant. They grow up to 30 inches in height and do best in zones 5 and higher.

Echinacea Big Sky™ Harvest Moon

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Yellow or golden-yellow in color, this flower has sparse petals and a wide center that contains small spikes. They grow up to two feet in height and are loved by butterflies. Perfect for large pots and as cut flowers, the Harvest Moon does best in full sun and partial shade and its aroma is magnificent.

Echinacea tennesseensis

Also called the Tennessee Coneflower, it can grow up to two feet high and has beautiful pink petals and a dark center. One of the unique aspects of growing these kinds of flowers is that they grow well in almost all conditions, including full or partial shade. They are showy and fragrant and they are suitable as annuals. The flowers have also won a few international flower awards.

Echinacea purpurea Pow Wow® White

With beautiful drooping white petals and a large, wide center, these flowers are quite striking, and they do best in zones 3 or higher. They grow up to two feet in height and do well even in extra-dry conditions. Butterflies, bees, and birds love them and they look amazing in extra-large containers.

Echinacea Big Sky™ Summer Sky

A beautiful peach-colored flower that grows up to two feet in height and is loved by butterflies, it looks beautiful in large containers and as cut flowers and its fragrance is wonderful. The Summer Sky is deer-resistant, it grows best in zones 3 or higher, and you can divide it in order to grow additional plants.

Echinacea Flame Thrower

The Flame Thrower has sparse petals that are orange or yellow in color and a beautiful center with spikes. They grow unusually large, usually up to 40 inches in height, and are deer-resistant. They are also attractive to butterflies, have a wonderful aroma, and look great in a bouquet or vase.

Echinacea Fatal Attraction

These flowers have beautiful, eye-catching purple or pink petals and stems that are deep purple. They grow up to 28 inches high and look fantastic in large containers. Their centers are unusually wide, making the petals look short but elegant, and they are loved by butterflies of all kinds.

Echinacea purpurea Rubinstern

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The Rubinstern has beautiful pink or purple petals and a center that is unusually large and thick. The petals droop slightly, giving it a very unique look, and it can grow up to three feet high. You can divide it to grow additional plants and it is deer-resistant and tolerant of droughts. It is also attractive to birds, butterflies, and bees and has a great aroma.

Echinacea Big Sky™ Sundown

With sparse, orange petals and a dark, large center, the Sundown has herbaceous leaves and grows up to three feet high. It is also used as an erosion control method, which makes it quite unique, and is loved by butterflies, bees, and birds. Although the flower will not come true from seed, you can divide it to produce additional plants and it is beautiful when placed in large containers, thanks in part to its stunning look.

Echinacea Sombrero Salsa Red

As the name suggests, these flowers have petals that are a striking, eye-catching red and centers that are dark as well. They grow up to two feet in height, are resistant to deer, and grow best when given excellent drainage. They look spectacular in containers and as cut flowers and butterflies are attracted to them.

Echinacea paradoxa

Also called the Yellow Coneflower, this flower consists of long, drooping yellow petals and a center that is large and thick. They grow to an impressive three feet, and they can be successfully grown in zones 3-10. The flower will naturalize and it looks great in large containers and as cut flowers. It is an eye-catching perennial that prefers full sun and partial shade.

Echinacea Merlot

Another Purple Coneflower, the Merlot consists of purple or red petals that look a little shorter than other coneflowers because of its extra-large and extra-wide center. It is loved by butterflies and grows up to 30 feet in height. The Merlot looks great in containers and in bouquets and they are resistant to deer.

Echinacea Big Sky™ Sunrise

With delicate yellow petals and a greenish-brown center, the Sunrise is eye-catching and grows to 18 inches in height. It does not come true from seed but instead requires dividing it to get additional plants. It is attractive to butterflies. The Sunrise looks great in vases and in large containers, making it truly versatile.

Echinacea purpurea Doppelganger

Also known as the Eastern Purple Coneflower, its beautiful dark- and light-pink petals are slightly dense and attractive to butterflies. The flower can grow even in dry conditions and is deer-resistant. Various insects pollinate the plant and it looks great in vases and even in large containers.

Echinacea purpurea Ruby Giant

These beautiful flowers grow up to three feet high and have purple or red petals that are sparse but long. They are resistant to deer and look great as cut flowers. The Ruby Giant is very fragrant and grows from summer to early Fall. Because of their beauty, they also look great in large containers.

Echinacea pallida

Also called the Pale Purple Coneflower, this flower has petals that are purple, pink, or white in color and are very sparse and droopy. Their centers are wide and thick and they can grow up to three feet in height. Best when grown in zones 3-10, the Pale Purple Coneflower will naturalize and is attractive to butterflies and bees. They are showy and fragrant and are pollinated by several different types of insects.

Echinacea Ferris Wheel

Growing from midsummer until the first frost, this flower has sparse, ruffled petals, usually white in color, that have tips which resemble additional petals. They are a hardy flower that grows great in zones 4-9 and they can grow up to three feet in height. They are truly unique and eye-catching, mainly due to the unique tips of the petals.

Echinacea Maui Sunshine

Great for zones 4-9, the Maui Sunshine has striking golden-yellow petals and a large, thick gold center. Just shy of two feet in height, these flowers seem to take on a unique glow when you grow them in your garden, standing out among the other flower types.

Echinacea purpurea Double Decker

Perfect for zones 3-8, the Double Decker contains petals attached to the top of its center and down below, giving them a two-tiered look. Eye-catching at roughly 40 inches high and in colors such as purplish-pink, the Double Decker is a beautiful, very unique addition to anyone’s garden.

Echinacea purpurea Mac ’n’ Cheese

As its name suggests, these flowers have petals that are cheese-colored and can get up to 4.5 inches in width. They only grow to 26 inches in height but are hardy flowers that do great in zones 4-9. Many gardeners plant them alongside the Tomato Soup variety for a striking contrast in the garden.

Echinacea purpurea Adam Saul

Dark-pink, drooping petals surround a beautiful orange cone and they can produce over 100 blooms per year. Great for zones 4-9, the Adam Saul variety is extra fragrant and is also known as Crazy Pink. They are definitely an eye-catcher in anyone’s garden, regardless of what is surrounding them.

Echinacea purpurea Green Jewel

These flowers are characterized by their light green petals and dark green center that contains a thin yellow stripe around it. They grow best in zones 3-8 and get up to two feet in height. They are extra attractive when placed next to flowers and foliage that are dark in color and their aroma is second to none.

Echinacea purpurea Milkshake

The Milkshake is a little unique in its appearance, consisting of double yellow cones and drooping petals in various shades of French vanilla. They can grow up to 30 inches tall and flower in midsummer, re-blooming in the fall. They also do best when grown in zones 3-9.

Echinacea purpurea Pink Poodle

With a look that is similar to zinnias, these coneflowers have dense, medium- to dark-pink petals and yellow centers. The early blooms may seem a little dysfunctional but once their blooms are full and the garden is more established, the look is quite extraordinary. They are sturdy, have beautiful stems, and they grow up to 32 inches in height. They are a truly unique, noticeable flower

Echinacea Quills and Thrills

These sparse, lavender-pink petals resemble quills and have tips that are wider than the rest of the petal. With unusually large, dark orange cones, they can grow up to three feet in height and look absolutely stunning as part of a bouquet.

Echinacea purpurea Purity

With beautiful orange cones and elegant white petals, the Purity can grow as many as 25 flowers per season and their blooms can be as wide as 4.5 inches. Some reblooming can occur in the fall and they can grow as high as 26 inches.

Echinacea purpurea Marmalade

As its name implies, this orange-gold flower resembles orange marmalade and has both short and drooping tangerine petals and light-green centers. They grow as high as 30 inches tall and do best in zones 4-9.

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Types Of Coneflower – Learn About Different Kinds Of Coneflower Plant

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 they 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.

Echinacea, or coneflower, is possibly one of the most well known prairie flowers. Endemic to North American prairies, it is known around the world for its medicinal properties and its versatility as a cut flower. There are ten distinct species of naturally occurring echinacea, but the horticultural industry has created countless hybrids.
Though native echinacea only comes in purple, pale purple, or yellow, hybridized echinacea can be red, orange, pink, green or even multi-color. But what besides color make these new coneflowers different? And are there any downsides to using engineered plants over natives?

Our native Echinacea pallida always has thin, reflexed petals and a pale purple hue.

‘Julia’ is a hybrid coneflower sporting vibrant orange flowers on strong stems. Photo courtesy of Walter’s Gardens.

How They Are Made: Wilderness Vs Laboratory

Most newfangled varieties of Echinacea are from the species E. purpurea. Unassuming and bright, the ‘straight species’ of Echinacea purpurea has long lasting purple blooms that readily self seed in the garden. Insects pollinate these wild coneflowers by carrying pollen (i.e. genetic material) between whatever echinaceas are nearby, producing seeds with mixed traits and variable habits. However, hybrid varieties have much more protected DNA, developed by humans through hand pollinating of flowers with desirable qualities. It can take years to successfully select, cross, and stabilize a genetic line of new coneflowers for the garden market.

This variety of Echinacea called ‘ Cleopatra’ has eye catching yellow flowers. Photo courtesy of Walter’s Gardens.

Pros

Using hybrid echinacea gives you more options. If you like to make bold statements and thematic garden designs, a wider color pallette is always more fun. The hybrid types come in all different sizes as well, meaning customers can choose tall or dwarf types to fit multiple landscaping needs. Native coneflowers, like E. pallida or E. paradoxa, will always be between 1.5-3 ft tall when planted in optimal conditions. Beyond height, genetically modified coneflowers often have better branching and a more compact habit than the native type. They are usually less prone to flopping over, and some even have a longer bloom period. For gardens with limited space, hybrid coneflowers offer lots of color in a more manageable package.

E. angustifolia is an iconic prairie flower, beloved by pollinators and humans alike.

‘Salsa’ Echinacea is from the Sombrero series of coneflowers offered by Walter’s Garden. All of the varieties shown in this post will be available at our fall plant sale!

Cons

Native coneflowers are excellent food sources for pollinators, but the jury is still out on whether hybrids are as beneficial. We know that hybrid echinaceas with double and triple blooms are useless to pollinators because the extra petals block nectar and pollen. However, preliminary studies on the subject suggests some single flowered hybrids are as attractive to pollinators as their parent plants.

Additionally, some hybrid varieties are sterile and do not produce viable seeds to support seed eating birds. Humans reproduce most hybrid varieties through vegetative propagation, either by tissue culture or by cuttings and divisions. This means they are genetic clones of each other and do not contribute to genetic diversity within the Echinacea gene pool. Less genetic diversity transmitted to the next generation of plants leaves echinacea species’ at risk for disease and decay of their genetic line. Ecological considerations aside, some new varieties don’t seem to be as long lived as the true natives.

Bumblebee visiting Echinacea purpurea – photo by Janelle Flory Schrock

Whether or not you go with true natives or new varieties of coneflower depends on the purpose of your planting. If you want an ecological planting that increases biodiversity and improves habitat, then stick with Kansas natives. But to simply improve the aesthetics of your landscape and add a splash of color, new hybrid varieties will do the trick. Come to the FloraKansas fall plant sale and get your fill of coneflowers, native and otherwise!

Coneflowers: 7 Best Echinacea Varieties

I have been under the weather lately, and one of the only things that seems to quiet my cough is echinacea. It got me to thinking about how much I love these coneflowers!

I have always appreciated the plant for its rugged durability, able to withstand hot dry summers but hardy enough to survive the coldest winters.

A native American plant indigenous to the central plains, Echinacea purpurea is virtually indestructible. We enjoy the color it brings to the summer garden with its large daisy-like, rosy purple petals surrounding a copper-colored, dome-shaped central seed head. There is also a yellow one called Echinacea paradoxa because of it unusual color.

Plant breeders have been busy and now we have more colors, shapes, and sizes to choose from. Here are seven varieties we have planted over the years with success:

  • ‘Sunrise’ has pale yellow flowers with central cones that start out green and change to gold. Bright and showy the flowers are 5 ” across and very fragrant. The plants are 30-36 inches tall.
  • ‘Harvest moon’ is a cross of E.purpurea and paradoxa that has golden yellow flowers with orange cones. It is a heavy branching plant that bears 4” wide flowers.

  • ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ is a mix of colors that can be easily grown from seed. They grow from 18-30” tall.

  • ‘Green Envy’ has fat jade green petals with magenta veins. The center cones start out green and mature to a purple-brown. It grows to be 30-36 inches tall.

  • ‘Razzmatazz’ is considered to be the first double-flowering echinacea. Instead of a central cone, each flower has a dome covered with short petals surrounded by a skirt of longer, reflexed petals. It is a bright pink and grows 32-26 inches tall.

  • ‘Doubledecker’ looks like it is wearing a hat. Imagine a purple coneflower that has a second set of smaller petals growing from the top of the cone. Plants get to be about 40 inches tall.
  • ‘Kim’s Knee High’ is a compact growing coneflower bearing rosy-pink flowers on an 18 inch tall plant.

All these hybrids need the same care as regular coneflowers. They prefer full sun or morning sun and afternoon shade. Deep rich well-drained soil is optimum but they will thrive in average soil. The flowers are great for cutting, lasting a week or more in a bouquet.

There are many many more to choose from so when plant shopping this spring take a second look at coneflowers and add something new to your summer landscape.

Coneflowers

A Palette’s-Worth of Summertime Color

Native to eastern and central North America, this virtually foolproof perennial (Echinacea spp.) offered gardeners little besides reliability until recently. In the last few years, however, plant breeders have released the beauty hidden within these rugged wildflowers, creating double-flowered Coneflowers, fragrant Coneflowers, and Coneflowers in an astounding palette of new and vivid colors.

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Our Coneflower Selection
We’ve been growing and evaluating the newest Coneflowers in our trial gardens and are confident that those we’ve chosen to offer will invigorate any sunny border, meadow, or cottage garden. Blooming from late June until the first fall frost, these new, more-than-just-purple Coneflowers furnish a range of hues, from flamboyant tropical oranges to cool, sophisticated green or white. Best of all, we’ve found that their cosmetic makeover did not detract from these perennials’ native hardiness. They flourish in ordinary soils and, once rooted in, are remarkably resistant to heat and cold as well as drought. Though they prefer full sun, they also perform satisfactorily in partial shade. You’ll appreciate the versatility of our Coneflowers, which not only provide nearly foolproof, perennial garden color and fragrance but also long-lasting cut flowers. The bright blossoms are beloved by butterflies; the cones of seeds that remain after the petals drop attract goldfinches and other songbirds.

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Coneflower Video

Coneflower (Echinacea) — How to Care for Your Plant

Light/Watering: Flowering is at its best in full sun, although plants will tolerate light shade. Deep taproots make these plants quite drought-tolerant once established.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH: Plants do not benefit from added fertilizer, especially if grown in partial shade. Echinacea purpurea is adaptable to most soil types but prefers a sandy, well-drained loam and a pH from 6.0 to 7.0.

Pests/Diseases: Echinacea is rarely troubled by pests or diseases, none serious enough to warrant control measures. Plants do attract beneficial insects, especially firefly-like soldier beetles, which feed on aphids and caterpillars.

Companions: Shorter perennials camouflage occasional basal legginess; compact varieties of Catmint (Nepeta) are ideal companions as are perennial Geraniums, dwarf Goldenrods (Solidago), and Salvia. Taller companion plants include Perovskia, Phlox, Sedum, Veronica, and Monarda.

Reflowering: Echinacea has a long bloom season even without deadheading, but that practice will result in more blooms. Plants can be cut back by half in early summer, resulting in a later bloom time but more compact form. Leave some seed heads to provide food for goldfinches — there are few sights more delightful than watching the small, golden birds wave about as they pick out the seeds.

Dividing/Transplanting: Plants rarely need dividing, and transplanting older plants can be tricky due to the taproot. It can be done, however, as long as you dig deeply and keep a good amount of soil around the roots.

End-of-Season Care: Plants may be left standing through winter as the seeds heads collect the snow in pretty little puffs. If desired, cut back to the ground after a killing frost.

Calendar of Care

Early Spring: Divide or transplant now, watering well afterward.

Late Spring: Provide supplementary water only if the season is extremely dry or if the Coneflowers are newly planted.

Summer: Deadhead if desired, but leave some seeds for the goldfinches. Watch for beneficial soldier beetles in August and do not harm them. Plants may be cut back by half in June; this will result in later-flowering, more compact growth.

Fall: Plants may be cut back to the ground after a hard frost. A light mulch in colder regions is beneficial.

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