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Echinaceas - More than just Purple Coneflower

When you think of an Echinacea plant, most gardeners usually think of a typical purpleconeflower…Echinacea purpurea. This is because for years, purple coneflowers were grown from seed and varied only in height, vigor, and bloom size. However, new breeding efforts have cracked the purple monopoly in echinacea plants and moved beyond Echinacea purpurea to hybrids with other coneflower species. There are now purple coneflowers in all hues in the red to yellow spectrum. In fact, purple coneflowers that are selections of Echinacea purpurea now represent only a tiny number of all new coneflower cultivars. This new wave of color has sparked new interest in the coneflower group like never before.

Purple coneflower has historically been a great native summer perennial . The new coneflower colors will keep this genus popular into the future as well. In addition to their flower power, Echinacea flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Purple coneflower hybrids are easy to grow, heat and drought-tolerant native perennials, but they do not like heavy clay soils and poor winter drainage so prepare your flower beds accordingly. Also, do not plant purple coneflower selections after late summer or their winter survivability will decrease dramatically.

Try combining echinacea plants with complementary summer flowering perennials  such as dicliptera, abutilon, and monarda, or with ornamental grasses such as miscanthus or muhlenbergia. We think you will really like this tough, native perennial. Most of the purple coneflower cultivars start flowering for us in mid-June. Some echinaceas rebloom well through the summer, while other purple coneflowers take a break after their initial flowering and bloom again in early fall.

Not all of the new purple coneflower hybrids are equal in their flower power, vigor, or ability to hold their flowers upright. Plant Delights trials all of the new Echinacea coneflower cultivars that hit the market and makes only the best of them available to you. So when you’re ready to move past seed-grown Echinacea purpurea and try some of the purple coneflower hybrids in your summer garden, we hope you’ll check out our coneflower offerings.