Are You Coneflower Cool?

During the hot summer months here in the Intermountain West there are few plants that can take the hours of high heat and dry air and still look absolutely cool!  In my garden I find one of the best summer coolers to be coneflowers (Echinacea).  Whether old or new they pump out beautiful daisy-form flowers for weeks and their flower power is not fleeting.

They even classify as ‘totally cool’ because they have been re-invented just as successfully as Madonna ever was… ehhhhmmm…to the gardening world that is.

During the last decade American plant breeders broke the white and pinkish/purple box that held only Echinacea purpurea to the gardening world.  They have worked creatively with all nine species of the Echinacea genus to formulate coneflower cultivars that come in exhilarating colors with interesting petal arrangements, varied centers and growth habits and even fragrance.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t believe in completely getting rid of the old for the new.  I still very much enjoy my Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ …as do others…

But in my garden (and my world) there is always room for some re-invention and change so I’ve added some newer coneflower varieties in beautiful shades of orange, golden-yellow, rose and melon.  I’m very happy with the performance of these varieties and would recommend them to anyone that is looking for a plant that takes the heat yet adds some cool to the mid-summer garden.

Echinacea 'Sunset'

'Sunset' after a couple of weeks bloom

Echinacea 'Coral Reef'

Patch of 'Coral Reef'

Echinacea 'Harvest Moon'

'Harvest Moon' shines above Aster 'Prince'

Echinacea 'Pink Poodle' just opening

Echinacea 'Pink Poodle' just starting to form it's second flower. It's a double-decker Echinacea.

Are you hip on coneflowers?  If so, do you grow vintage or trendy?  Maybe both? Do you have a Fave?

Coneflower Vitals:

-Cold hardy, easy to grow, best in well-drained, average soil

-Most varieties hardy in zones 3 – 8

-Full sun

-Tolerates heat and humidity

-Water needs are average, somewhat drought tolerant once established. In the Intermountian West water weekly for optimal health and continued bloom production 

-Upright growth habit 

-Height depends on variety but most varieties reach about 3-4 feet

-Attracts Birds and Butterflies

-Cut back dormant seed heads in late fall to prevent self-sowing or leave to serve as winter forage for birds