Echinacea

Coneflower

Notable for a dashing display of bold, daisylike cut flowers and an easy-to-get-along-with personality, Echinacea is favored by beginning and experienced gardeners alike for its colorful yet indestructible nature. Sculpted with prominent and raised central cones, the hefty flower heads of this summer blooming perennial are lifted above the greenery on sturdy stems, which are strong enough to hold them without staking.

Native to the eastern and central U.S., the dark green, lanceolate leaves are reminiscent of a close relative, Rudbeckia. Perfect in a perennial border or peppered throughout a meadow garden, Coneflower’s erect stalks complement the more relaxed look of other plants.

<i>Echinacea Big Sky™</i> ‘Sundown’

(Evan Saul)

One of the celebrated stars from Richard Saul’s highly touted Big Sky breeding program in Atlanta, Georgia, ‘Sundown’ colors the landscape with blazing intensity. Vibrant, nearly iridescent pinkish orange petals bend back and overlap one another as they swirl around a pronounced chocolate-brown hub. A cross between purpurea and paradoxa, this Echinacea is not only a flamboyant, sweetly fragrant beauty, but a stocky workhorse delivering vigorous, multibranched stems and broad dark green foliage. (PPAF)

Blooms August–September.

Size: 2-1/2' – 3' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

More composed than our other Big Sky offering, but just as reliable, this cultivar serves up illuminated butter yellow blooms that soothe the colorful chaos of the summertime border. Subtly toothed, tasteful foliage defines a full, leafy footing for the ample-sized blooms, which emit a roselike scent while their raised greenish centers mature with golden highlights. (pp#16235)

Blooms August–September.

Size: 2-1/2' – 3' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Echinacea</i> ‘Harvest Moon™’

“Echinacea” is derived from the greek word for hedgehog and this Echinacea’s pronounced rusty orange cones remind us of the little critter’s spiky fur. Lax, loosely arranged and luminous, the perfumed, overlapping golden yellow rays span 4 in. across and are resilient, even during the worst summer heat. Another prized Richard Saul introduction, ‘Harvest Moon’s extra long lasting, autumn-hued flowers are bolstered by abundantly branched staunch stems and a good-looking, compact leafy base. (pp#17652)

Blooms late July – September.

Size: 2' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Echinacea pallida</i>

Offering a uniquely different floral presentation, this Echinacea’s large blooms consist of ethereally rayed, pale pink to purple petals delicately draped from a coppery orange center. Narrow, toothless olive-green leaves clothe firm stems beneath the perfect-for-cutting flowers. E. pallida’s staunch adaptable habit can be naturalized en masse, sprinkled in a cottage garden or added to a butterfly planting.

Blooms June–July

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 12" – 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 3.

More than 30 years after Jelitto Seeds introduced ‘Magnus’, the same well-regarded company has now released a new improved version, which they say is vastly superior to the original cultivar. ‘Magnus Superior’ is rapidly gaining recognition with its deeper lavender-colored horizontal rays, larger radiant copper and orange cones, plus firm dark stems and overall heartier constitution. Though ‘Magnus’ has enjoyed award-winning celebrity status for years and is considered by many to be the best cultivated Echinacea in the trade, this new kid on the block deserves a prime spot either in a border, naturalized area or wildflower garden where he can prove his worth.

Blooms July–September

Size: 3' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

If you’re looking for a new Echinacea that possesses plenty of fortitude, you’ll definitely want to consider this floriferous beauty. Dressed in dazzling watermelon pink shades, uniquely slender petals, featuring upturned margins, are widely spaced and extend horizontally from large nearly iridescent orange-bronze cones that goldfinches love to visit.

Distinctive among Echinaceas for its fine-textured floral parade, ‘Pica Bella’ stands strong on compact brawny stalks clothed with toothed tapering green leaves.

Blooms July–September.

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Echinacea purpurea</i> ‘White Swan’

Dignified as the name implies, large, pure white flowers crest branching, stalwart stems cloaked in handsome dark green foliage. Broad and slightly reflexed, the bright petals achieve a stunning contrast as they skirt each golden brown boss. With an upright stance, ‘White Swan’ looks simply noble in the company of Monarda ‘Violet Queen’ and a dark red Sanguisorba.

Blooms July–mid-September.

Size: 2-1/2' – 3' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Colored in rich, deep pink hues, the widely spaced, thin rays of this distinctive long bloomer turn upward and follow the sun throughout the day. While its flowers are a departure from the more typically reflexed Echinacea petals, its narrow, medium green leaf mass is somewhat shorter than other genus members.

Closely related to the endangered species that thrives in the cedar glades of central Tennessee, this exciting selection comes to us from Germany’s Jelitto Seeds. ‘Rocky Top Hybrids’ is well-suited for the border or a more untamed setting amidst a stand of Deschampsia and Panicum.

Blooms July–September.

Size: 2' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

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Fantastic Fall Foliage.... The arresting foliage of these easy-care, low growing perennials remains tidy well into November. Adequate water, mulch and a mid-season trim help ensure their staying power.

November's last hurrah.... The shorter days and cooler nights of November have set the garden ablaze with eye-catching foliar color. By planting an assortment of woody plants as well as herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses, which promote late season allure, a last hurrah is easily achieved. Each of the plants included in this newsletter bestow either plump berries, late blooms, compelling foliage or artful branching patterns. Happy Digging!

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