Plants - Perennials

Colourful coneflowers

By
Lorraine Flanigan
Photography by
Ernst Kucklich

The trusty coneflower shows off some glamorous faces

E. p. ‘Double Decker' (a.k.a. Doppelganger) (Above) The two-tiered, rosy purple flowers merit a double take. On mature plants (two-year-olds), a second bloom will sprout from the cone of an existing bloom. This unique habit, combined with jumbo-sized flowers (12 to 15 centimetres in diameter), makes it desirable for floral arrangements. One metre tall, Zone 4.

E. tennesseensis Rocky Top Hybrids Cultivated from a species native to Tennessee, these hybrids feature upward-facing pink petals and bloom all summer. Like the species, the flowers of the Rocky Top Hybrids will turn to face east, so keep this in mind when siting them, preferably in full sun and well-drained soil. The seeds attract finches and sparrows. 60 centimetres tall, Zone 5

Echinacea ‘Art's Pride' (Orange Meadowbrite, shown on following page) A profusion of soft, tangerine-coloured flowers makes ‘Art's Pride' the star of any garden. A remarkable colour for a coneflower, this one also has a spicy orange fragrance and glossy dark green foliage that make it triply attractive. Stunning in meadow gardens, it combines well with blue-flowering perennials such as globe thistle (Echinops spp.) and ‘Butterfly Blue' small scabious (Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue'). Also look for Mango Meadowbrite, a yellow-flowered form. 60 centimetres wide, 90 centimetres tall, Zone 5.

Three award-winning coneflowers
This year, the Royal Horticultural Society bestowed its prestigious Award of Garden Merit on three coneflowers: Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus', ‘Rubinstern' and ‘Ruby Giant'. Winning plants show exceptional vigour, resistance to pests and disease, and don't require special growing conditions or care.

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