Echinacea 'Hot Papaya'

This coneflower is hot hot hot!

The first double flower orange echinacea ever, 'Hot Papaya' is a spicy-hot beauty.
The first double flower orange echinacea ever, 'Hot Papaya' is a spicy-hot beauty. | Source

Grower's Tip

When you first plant Hot Papaya, keep the soil consistently moist. Once it's established and growing well in your garden, watering is optional. Like all coneflowers, Hot Papaya is drought tolerant.

Hot Papaya has a full, zinnia-like pom-pom center.
Hot Papaya has a full, zinnia-like pom-pom center. | Source

Bold & Spicy

Want to "spice" up your garden?

Add a few clumps of 'Hot Papaya' Echinacea to a flowerbed, border, landscaping island or mailbox garden.

Everything about this bold purple coneflower hybrid is hot, hot, hot—from its sweet-as- honey scent and large, double blossoms to its vivid red and orange color.

A hybrid developed by master hybridizer Arie Blom of AB Cultivars in The Netherlands, Hot Papaya was the first ever double-flower orange coneflower.

Hot Papaya performs well in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9, growing up to 36 inches high in clumps up to 30 inches in diameter. It has only two real requirements: full sun and good drainage.

Like Echinacea purpurea (common purple coneflower), Hot Papaya has a tight, upright habit and sturdy, thick stems. The stems and leaves, though primarily green, exhibit touches of burgundy: maroon streaks on the stems and wine markings on the centers and the bases of leaves.

Hot Papaya really is a beautiful and unusual hardy herbaceous perennial that adds a colorful pinch of spice to the landscape.


Growing Hot Papaya Echinacea

As the coneflower blooms age, their pompoms loosen and darken to a deep orangy-red.
As the coneflower blooms age, their pompoms loosen and darken to a deep orangy-red. | Source
Source

Grower's Tip

To propagate Hot Papaya easily, separate it into crowns in the spring, just as you would any other clumping herbaceous perennial, such as Echinacea pupurea (purple coneflower) and Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan). Or, start Hot Papaya from tissue cuttings.

You can also grow Hot Papaya from purchased seeds; however, because it's a hybrid, Hot Papaya won't grow true from seeds that you collect.

We planted quart-sized nursery pots of Hot Papaya in a landscaping island filled with other native cultivars, including Monarda didyma 'Jacob Cline' (bee balm), Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed), Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) and Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire).

Hot Papaya definitely stole the show, producing spectacular flowers for four months. (The butterfly weed and bee balm also did well, probably because, like Hot Papaya, they are drought tolerant.)

Several catalogs claim that Hot Papaya flowers from July through August or September, but ours began producing blooms in June and continued to flower into fall, when I stopped cutting them to leave seeds for the birds and provide structure in our winter garden.

The blossoms were consistently big and bright, with red ray petals and orange-centered pompoms. As they aged, the pompoms loosened and lost their orange markings, changing to a deep, all-over orangy-red.

Our only issue with Hot Papaya was its susceptibility to deer, which seemed to find its sweet scent appealing. Twice our plants were damaged. However, they recovered quickly and continued to bloom.

Although this Hot Papaya flower is older, it's still a beauty and, if left on the plant to dry, will provide seeds for the birds.
Although this Hot Papaya flower is older, it's still a beauty and, if left on the plant to dry, will provide seeds for the birds. | Source
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About the Author

The Dirt Farmer has been an active gardener for over 30 years.

She first began gardening as a child alongside her grandfather on her parents' farm. Together, they would plant acres of vegetable gardens, setting tomato, eggplant and bell pepper plants; sowing row after row of beans and corn; and building up mounds of soil for white squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe and potatoes.

Today, The Dirt Farmer gardens at home, volunteers at community gardens and continues to learn about gardening through the MD Master Gardener program.

Copyright © 2013 by The Dirt Farmer. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 21 comments

The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Jeanne! Glad you're going to try Hot Papaya. I think you'll really like it! Take care, Jill


Jeanne Grunert profile image

Jeanne Grunert 3 years ago from Virginia

Good article and nice recommendations! I love Echinacea and now have a new one to add to the garden .


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Patricia! Glad your comment forced me to check in on this hub again so I could fix the ugly, all-cap lettering the new hub tool has turned "Heading 4" font into. So happy to remove it--it looks so angry! (And I also appreciate your comments.) (; Take it easy! Jill


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

This is gorgeous. The vibrant color is so welcome to give the yard a splash of color. I will be ordering some of these. Thanks for providing a place to order.

I always enjoy peeking in to see what new tip or plant you have for us.

Sending you many Angels today :) ps


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hey RTalloni! Won't that be gorgeous--bright yellow against hot red! Spring seems far away here--it's in the teens & snow's on the way, but I'm glad for the cold. It's sort of nice to take a break. (: Good to hear from you! Take it easy, Jill


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for this look at Hot Papaya! I can see it dancing among my Black Eyed Susan's now. Spring is coming! :)


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Glimmer Twin Fan! Gald to hear your bougainvillea is still doing so well. Thanks for voting and for sharing this hub! (: Take care, Jill


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

Another great flower to add to my garden. I love that you have a garden of native cultivars. This is such a gorgeous variety that will add some great pop of color. Thanks. On a side note, my bougainvillea is wintering beautifully after using your tips. It's taking over our floor landing. Up, beautiful, shared and pinned.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi aviannovice! To feed the birds, let the flowers dry on the plant. Birds like the seeds. Butterflies like Hot Papaya, too, particularly when the flowers are young--though our butterfly bushes and lilacs attracted more butterflies than any of our coneflowers.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

How do birds and butterflies like it?


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Maren! Hot Papaya really IS gorgeous. Nice to hear from ya! --Jill


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

Any flower with Papaya in its name has got my attention. It looks gorgeous!


purl3agony profile image

purl3agony 3 years ago from USA

Hey Jill - Stick with the knitting - it gets easier. Choose yarn you love, and you'll be so excited to see your finished project that the stitches will just fly off your needles! Well, not really - but I hope you "grow" to enjoy it :)


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

@purl3agony--Thanks for your kind words! Had my first knitting class. I'm not a natural, but I'm trying!


purl3agony profile image

purl3agony 3 years ago from USA

Another great hub!! Pinning as I write :) Thank!


Little Grandmommy profile image

Little Grandmommy 3 years ago from Small Town Tennessee

I learned a lot from reading this Hub. I may have to grow some of these wonderful flowers for myself. I have clematis, buttercups, mystery lilys, tiger lilys and antique climbing roses now. Thanks for the info!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Carol! If you're in Zone 10, they probably won't grow, but if you're in Zone 9 ... it's possible! (:

Hey Donna! You can grow these in pots and treat them like annuals. Would they be cheery by the front door?! Take it easy, Jill


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 3 years ago from Upstate New York

Beautiful! Do you think these could be planted in pots? I can't actually plant in the ground at my apt complex.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

These look gorgeous. Probably not be growing here in the mountains of Arizona. But they are lovely and you do know your garden world...Pinning.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Rosie writes! You're so lucky to have so many shady trees! Hope you find a spot for Hot Papaya, too! Take care--and thanks for the votes! Jill


Rosie writes profile image

Rosie writes 3 years ago from Virginia

Beautiful flower - my yard has slowly become shady as the trees have become large, and I don't think there is as spot left where the sun shines for more than a couple of hours. This has greatly limited my planting choices, but will try to fing a space for this beauty. Useful hub, voted up.

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