Perennially Perfect, the Echinacea!

With all the choices we have for color in the garden today, I know it can be hard to decide what to plant!  Let me recommend that you include Echinaceas! There are short ones (Kim‘s Knee High), there are tall ones (Ruby Giant), there are pinks, reds, oranges, yellow, whites, raspberry, wines, bi-colors, doubles…the list goes on and on!  Propagators have introduced so many new ones in the last 10 years that it’s hard to keep up with them all!  The most important thing you must remember is that Echinaceas prefer sunny locations. They tolerate almost any soil conditions and will adapt almost anywhere you plant them!

Echinacea p. 'White Swan'

    I have planted many Echinaceas over the years and have been very happy with the performance of most of them.  The common name of these beauties is Cone Flower.

Echinacea p. ‘White Swan’   – nice bright white flowers in July and August.

Echinacea ‘ Sunrise’ PP 16235 – truly a favorite! Soft yellow flowers July thru Sept. Fragrant!

Echinacea ‘Sunset’ PP 16424 – I’ve tried several oranges, in my book, this one is best! The petals actually open and the flower stays orange! Fragrant!

 

Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’  – Pricey but worth every penny! The flowers are the color of Campbell’s Tomato Soup made with milk! (my husband uses water) Heavy bloomer, excellent color! 

Echinacea ‘Green Envy’ PPAF –  I’ve had this one for two years and I love, love, love the unique flower! It’s a soft lime green with a blush of pink on each petal.  I love to combine the flowers in a vase and enjoy all the colors and fragrance!

Echinacea ‘Hope’ PP PPAF –  When I saw the promo for this one I thought to myself  “Sure it’s for  a great cause but how’s it actually grow?”  Well I’ll tell you…I didn’t have much faith in this one, I was running out of room and so I just stuck it at the corner of our house, in direct sun, by the driveway, where the hose won’t reach and….right next to the gutter spout.  I figured, what the heck, if it grows there….it can grow anywhere and if it dies….well..I won’t miss it in a corner I hardly ever walk by! Not only did ‘Hope’ survive…..it loves the abuse!  It blooms and blooms and blooms (no, I don’t dead-head her either!) and stands tall and proud in that heat and never cares when it floods over her during a storm or not! I seriously need to move her to where I can enjoy the flowers every day! Hope is named in honor of all breast cancer survivors and each plant sold earns money toward the cause.  You won’t find this inexpensive…..but well worth it!

The last one I want to tell you about it  Echinacea ‘Summer Sky’ PPAF This one is so special but…you need to plant it where it can be the “show-off” or the “diva” if you like.  The flower petals remind me of a summer sky just as the sun is setting on a very clear day…pink and orange and creamy…where you can almost see it glow! With most of the varieties of Echinacea, the more the merrier but with this one I would recommend planting it where it won’t be right next to bright colors or you’ll lose the unique “glow” of the flower and it will appear washed out!

I’d love to hear from you what your experiences have been with Echinacea! Tell me your favorites…or even the ones you’ve not enjoyed (is this possible!?) Have you tried the doubles?  Are you sticking with the plain native instead of trying the cultivars and if so why?

If nothing else…give a few of these a try! You’ll be delighted with the colors and the “friends” they bring to the garden whether they are the seed scrounging birds or the nectar loving hummingbirds and butterflies. You’ll also have a whole array of color to cut to bring into your home to fill a vase of fragrant, cheery, long-lasting flowers!

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2 responses to “Perennially Perfect, the Echinacea!

  1. I had a hit and miss experience with cone flowers (not even going to attempt to spell the proper name). Sometimes they come back, some times not. This year, I dead-headed the seed head and spread it through my sun garden. As we wade through winter I will have to wait to see if they will come back.

    • Many varieties are very hardy here (zone 5) and spread easily (although not so easily that they are targeted as invasive. Good luck and let me know what emerges! Do you know what variety you had?

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