Something has happened to the lowly native coneflower over the past decade. Breeders have put their best efforts toward developing new and improved colors and forms of a popular native wildflower, and with these makeovers the Echinacea has morphed into a garden rock star. Not that there was anything wrong with the original E. Purpurea, a familiar dusky purple daisy-like flower with a prominent orange center. Its long blooming time, self-seeding habit, and drought tolerance makes it a favorite of... beginners and professionals alike, who delight in the wildlife friendly attributes of the pollen-rich blooms. With the addition of so many new Echinacea forms, it’s possible to design an entire landscape centered on this flower.
01 of 12
02 of 12
This Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner takes the guesswork out of garden design; one packet of seeds will yield cheerful blooms in shades of yellow, orange, purple, cream, and red. If you start your seeds indoors after Christmas, you’ll see late summer blooms on these fast growing plants.
03 of 12
The gently drooping petals and prominent cones of ‘Daydream’ will remind you of the native form of Echinacea blooms, but ‘Daydream’ delivers more flowers on highly branching and compact plants. ‘Daydream’ blooms earlier than many coneflower varieties, beginning as early as May, and continuing the show for five months.
04 of 12
Double Scoop Cranberry
The ‘Double Scoop’ series of Echinacea is a response to consumer demand for lush, double-petaled flowers. In addition to the clear red blooms of ‘Double Scoop Cranberry,’ gardeners can purchase D.S. Bubblegum, Orangeberry, or Raspberry coneflowers, all featuring a mop of petals surrounded by flaring petals.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
05 of 12
06 of 12
07 of 12
If you haven’t discovered the green flower craze, ‘Greenline’ coneflowers are a great introduction to this versatile bloom color. A stand of ‘Greenline’ coneflowers add textural interest to the sunny border, but these chartreuse beauties really shine when planted alongside magenta or hot pink flowers.
08 of 12
I’m thankful to the Dutch for bringing us so many new flower introductions, and this garden exclamation point from breeder Arie Blom is no exception. Newly opened flowers start off with a brilliant gold hue, which transitions to a tropical flame orange. The flowers shine among other bright yellow and red flowers, but also stand out when combined with cool blue flowers.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
09 of 12
As one of the members of Terra Nova’s ‘Prairie Pillars’ series, ‘Leilani’ coneflowers exhibit strong stems that perform well as cut flowers on vigorous plants that shrug off harsh summer heat. The 40-inch plants bear bright yellow flowers from July through October with occasional deadheading.
10 of 12
PowWow Wild Berry
Available as seed to populate your large garden, ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ will bloom just 20 weeks after sowing. The 2010 All-America Selection winner continues to pump out new buds on branching 24-inch plants even if you fail to deadhead faded blooms.
11 of 12
The variety names in the coneflower ‘Secret’ series hint that this flower is trying to break into the lucrative Valentine’s cut flower market. ‘Secret Passion’ joins eight other ‘Secret’ Echinaceas, including ‘S. Glow,’ ‘S. Desire,’ and ‘S. Romance,’ all sporting fully double and lushly petaled blossoms. The flowers are fragrant and fade-resistant, making them valuable additions to your vase.
12 of 12
If you’re creating a patriotic red, white, and blue garden, vibrant red ‘Tomato Soup’ coneflowers will bloom their hearts out throughout the summer. Pair them with easy bachelor’s buttons and any white coneflower variety to complete the display. Plant these in full sun for best color development.