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Saturday, July 14, 2012
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Perennials

Echinacea - Cone flower

Looking for something interesting to add to your garden for some summer and Fall interest? Echinacea might just be the perennial for you. This tall, sturdy and quite hardy perennial (zones 3-9 in most books) for the sunny border makes not only an elegant focal point for the summer and fall perennial bed, it’s useful too!

Many butterfly and native bee species adore this plant. It makes a great cut flower and last but not least, it helps your immune system. Actually, it would be better to take the Echinacea capsules from your local drug store if you want to ward off a cold or flu, I’d hate to see you dig up your plant as it is the root that is the medicinal part.

We used to be able to choose from either the white – Echinacea angustifolia or purple – Echinacea purpurea but now there is a new crop of vibrantly coloured hybrids to catch your eye and tempt you some even having fragrance!!

echinacea fragrant angel

Echinacea 'Fragrant Angel'

A fragrant white flowering beauty growing to about 32 inches in height and forming rather sturdy clumps. I can best describe the smell as a kind of soft Heliotrope fragrance or baby powder. Hardy from zones 4-9.
echinacea now cheesier

Echinacea 'Now Cheesier'

This cheddar yellow bloomer grows to 26 inches in height with lovely recurved petals which always look so graceful to me. Hardy from zones 4-9.
echinacea after midnight

Echinacea 'After Midnight'

Must have been named by a JJ Cale fan. This is another fragrant bloomer with deep magenta flowers with an almost black centre. The petals are slightly overlapping and the plant forms a dwarf clump growing to only 12 inches in height. Zone 4-9
echinacea green envy

Echinacea 'Green Envy'

This hard to find variety is truly spectacular with its slender petals dusky pink purple towards the cone and light lime green towards the tips. Even the cone is unusual with its bright green eye contrasting with the rich red brown surround. This variety is hardy from zones 5-9 and grows to about 20 inches.
echinacea fatal attraction

Echinacea 'Fatal Attraction'

this variety has lovely purple black stems which look quite striking in a mature massed clump. The double row of petals are a dusky purple rose in colour with the centre cone a red brown. This plant grows 18-24 inches in height. Zone 4-8 .
echinacea gum drop

Echinacea 'Gum Drop'

This pom pom style Echinacea has electric pink huge blooms on sturdy stems.  This variety may well be cuter than your neighbour’s shitzu.  Hardy from zones 4 through 9 and grows to 33 inches in height.
echinacea ruby star

Echinacea 'Ruby Star'

Very much like our native coneflower but with richer magenta flowers with more upright petals.  Grows to 36 inches in height and is hardy from zones 3-9.
echinacea tomato soup

Echinacea 'Tomato Soup'

This echinacea cannot be accused of subtlety.  The tomato soup red blooms are borne on 3 feet high plants and are very long lasting.  Hardy from zones 4-9.
echinacea pink double delight

Echinacea 'Pink Double Delight'

This one is the cheerleader of the group.  Soft  pink with a pom pom centre.  Don’t be deceived by its girlish exterior…this one is tough too growing to 24 inches in height and hardy from zones 5-9.
echinacea merlot

Echinacea 'Merlot'

Merlot has softly fragrant dusky pink mauve blooms with rich red brown centre cones that are held aloft by deep wine red stems.  This variety grows to 34 inches in height and is hardy from zones 4-9.

Echinacea are easy to grow given the right spot in a sunny well drained average soil.  They are dramatic accents without the dramatic care requirements. 

I have my eye on a couple of these varieties…I’ll try to leave some for you ;).


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