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The Many Faces Of The Echinacea Coneflower

Updated on February 27, 2015
Echinacea - Purple Coneflower And A Busy Bee
Echinacea - Purple Coneflower And A Busy Bee | Source

Echinacea

(pronounced Ek-i-nay-see-a)

(Cone Flower)

A prairie plant native to the United States, this long-admired perennial beauty has been adored and admired by gardeners worldwide for over two-hundred years. Often traditionally referred to as Purple Coneflower, Echinacea is now more commonly known simply as Coneflower.

Dedicated and advanced breeding has enhanced and improved upon the species so much so that many gardeners today have abandoned Purple in association to its name.

Echinacea Firebird

Vibrantly Colored Echinacea Firebird
Vibrantly Colored Echinacea Firebird | Source

Not Your Grandma's Echinacea Anymore!

The drooping, daisy-like flower of the Echinacea offers gardeners a wide variety of bloom colors and flower forms to pick and choose. This amazing assortment available at market today gathers to form an intriguing pallet of hues; from subtle and soft, to vibrant and festive!

Cultivars are aptly named and truly inspired. ‘Firebird', ‘Flame Thrower', ‘Harvest Moon', ‘Hot Papaya', ‘Kim's Knee High', ‘Now Cheesier', and ‘Sunrise’ are not your Grandma’s Echinacea!

The Coneflower . . . is not just purple anymore!

Echinacea Now Cheesier

Echinacea Now Cheesier Blooming Away!
Echinacea Now Cheesier Blooming Away! | Source

Echinacea is a most versatile and hardy sun-loving plant, and will bloom all summer long and into the beginning of fall as well. Some gardeners extend their enjoyment by choosing to leave the Coneflower seed heads on the plant at the end of the season to provide winter interest in the landscape.

Dead-heading spent flowers will encourage additional flowers to be produced on the plant. I also tend to leave a few cones to mature on my Echinacea here and there, which doesn’t seem to hinder its non-stop flowering as the growing season progresses.

P. Allen Smith Shows Off His Echinacea Coneflowers

Echinacea Hot Papaya

Echinacea Hot Papaya, An Amazing Double Flower
Echinacea Hot Papaya, An Amazing Double Flower | Source

Echinacea Make Great Cut Flowers

Long, sturdy stems support a prolific display of flowers which are very attractive to wildlife happening by. Insects like bees and butterflies love Echinacea, and visit to collect the essential nectar it provides. Songbirds rely on this lovely plant with its spiny cones as a food source for them well into the autumn and winter months.

You can expect beautiful blooms from June to October in most areas, and are nearly always one of the last plants to go into dormancy at the end of the growing season.

Echinacea flowers are excellent performers as cut flowers go, and they enjoy a long vase life once snipped from either single-stemmed or multi-branched plants.

Echinacea Harvest Moon

Echinacea Harvest Moon Open And Just Starting To Open
Echinacea Harvest Moon Open And Just Starting To Open | Source

An Echinacea Music Video

Echinacea are not demanding, needy plants in the garden, and do not seem to be impacted or seriously bothered by insects or diseases. Beneficial insects like soldier beetles arrive in August and will do no harm to them.

Coneflowers grow very well in water-wise gardens designed to be maintenance-free and drought tolerant. Echinacea is a top plant choice by garden designers who especially covet this plant's ability to conserve water, particularly if they endorse the gardening method of Xeriscaping.

Echinacea Kim's Knee High 'Shuttlecock' Flowers
Echinacea Kim's Knee High 'Shuttlecock' Flowers | Source

Historically the resulting tap-root of a mature Echinacea plant has been harvested in North America by its indigenous people for centuries as a major herb. A deep and fibrous root system develops once this perennial plant gets established in the landscape. Its network of root fibers helps to bind loose soils, which protects against erosion making Echinacea a valuable addition to a difficult and fragile planting area.

Although Coneflowers demand very little growing assistance from us, sometimes staking is needed to keep the tall-growing forms from breaking in windy areas. Smaller and more compact Coneflower varieties have been recently introduced, helping transport this pretty plant from the rear to the front of the flower border.

Echinacea Sunrise

Echinacea Sunrise Flowering Above Beautiful Green Foliage
Echinacea Sunrise Flowering Above Beautiful Green Foliage | Source

New Echinacea Coneflowers Available For Today's Gardeners

Echinacea Are Not Demanding

Luckily, Echinacea has a very short list of likes and dislikes.

Echinacea will happily grow and flourish in zones 3 – 10. They prefer full sun, and will tolerate a partially lit area as well. Neutral soil pH, say between 6 and 8 will benefit most varieties of Echinacea. Generally speaking, they will grow satisfactorily even in poor, clay filled soil. Coneflowers actually prefer very little by way of soil amendments, so fertilization is not required. Yeah . . . one less chore!

Echinacea Flame Thrower

Echinacea Flame Thrower - A Hot New Introduction
Echinacea Flame Thrower - A Hot New Introduction | Source

Weed control is an important and necessary chore when cultivating Echinacea, as they have a difficult time competing with weeds for the real estate in your garden!

Plants may be cut back by half in June; this will result in later-flowering, more compact growth.


Variety Of Echinacea
Zone
Bloom Time
Sun Exposure
Water Requirements
Height
Firebird
4 - 10
July, August, September
Full Sun
Average
2 - 21/2'
Flame Thrower
4 - 10
June
Full Sun
Average
3 - 31/2'
Harvest Moon
4 - 9
June, July, August
Full Sun To Part Shade
Average
2 - 3'
Hot Papaya
5 - 9
July, August, September
Full Sun
Average
3'
Kim's Knee High
3 - 8
June, July, August
Full Sun To Part Shade
Average
1 - 2'
Now Cheesier
4 - 10
July, August, September
Full Sun
Average
2 - 21/2'
Sunrise
4 - 9
June, July, August
Full Sun To Part Shade
Average
3'

Comments

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    • NotTooTall profile imageAUTHOR

      NotTooTall 

      5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living

      Hi Riviera Rose,

      Super carefree perennial. Hope you received cool varieties!

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments. I appreciate it!

      N T T

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 

      5 years ago from South of France

      I've taken to ordering plants online (God help my bank account!) and received three echinacea as a free gift. I just planted them on Sunday, so it's been great to read up about them here. Drought-tolerant, happy in poor soil and no fertilisation needed - hurrah, perfect for the Mediterranean!

    • NotTooTall profile imageAUTHOR

      NotTooTall 

      6 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living

      Hi 2uesday,

      Thank you for leaving your comments, I appreciate it very much.

      I'm glad that you came by. :)

      N T T

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 

      6 years ago

      Beautiful flower photos and useful information about this lovely flowering plant.

    • NotTooTall profile imageAUTHOR

      NotTooTall 

      6 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living

      Hi Dolores Monet,

      I'm happy to see you here ~ thank you for your comments. I appreciate it.

      Yes, Echinacea have so many pluses, I really like the new varieties too!

      It is a pretty plant that gives back to the animals!

      N T T

    • NotTooTall profile imageAUTHOR

      NotTooTall 

      6 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living

      Hi Movie Master,

      Thank you for leaving your comments. I'm happy that you enjoyed the Hub.

      Echinacea is a 'must have' for the garden. The bees and butterflies just love them!

      N T T

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love my coneflowers and have both purple and white in my garden. I leave the spent flower heads on for cold months. They attract goldfinch who love to eat the seeds. You pictures are just beautiful!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi NTT, the Echinacea is one of my favourite flowers, I have several varieties growing in my garden - I will have to look out for the Hot Papaya, it's beautiful!

      I love your fabulous photos, a wonderful hub thank you.

      Voted up and shared.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      6 years ago from United States

      Wonderful look at all the different varieties of echinacea. I grow the purple & the hot papaya & will have to look around for some of the others you've featured. Up and awesome!

    • NotTooTall profile imageAUTHOR

      NotTooTall 

      6 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living

      Hi RTalloni,

      Thank you so much for leaving your comments. I'm happy that you enjoyed the Hub.

      I know what you mean. The double flower takes you by surprise!

      I still love the varieties of cones they have. Echinacea look great coming, and going.

      N T T

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      6 years ago from the short journey

      Oh what happy flowers you've highlighted here. It's good to know that coneflowers have come such a long way, though there were no complaints with the old-fashioned purple e. Such beautiful photos and masses in video--waist high!

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