Varieties of Coneflowers

Give your garden a dose of living color with low-maintenance coneflower varieties.

Echinacea purpurea ~White Swan~ (01) Bloomleaf

Echinacea purpurea ~White Swan~ (01) Bloomleaf

'White Swan' coneflower features long-lasting, pure white blooms.

'White Swan' coneflower features long-lasting, pure white blooms.

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Set your sights on coneflowers, and you’ll fill your landscape with a rainbow of colorful blooms. Coneflower breeding has exploded since the turn of the 21st Century, and you can find a host of Echinacea varieties with flower forms and colors sure to please the most discerning gardener.

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is likely the most familiar face of the coneflower clan. This pretty favorite features the traditional coneflower center: a spiky globe with shades of copper, orange and bronze. Petals in a shade of lavender-pink fall away from the center, dangling from the spiky cone like a floral fringe. Purple coneflower is a U.S. native wildflower, well adapted to the growing conditions from coast to coast.

Echinacea ‘White Swan’ boasts the coppery central cone like its cousin purple coneflower, but this beauty opens blooms with white petals. The petals on ‘White Swan’ coneflower dangle between 4 and 5 inches long, creating a striking display in a perennial planting. This coneflower naturalizes easily, self-sowing to form drifts of color. Echinacea ‘White Swan’ can serve as a transition in perennial beds between plants with clashing flower colors.

Purple coneflower takes on a sizzling shade of pink in ‘PowWow Wild Berry’. Petals appear in a hue that’s not quite raspberry—but definitely glows in the garden, particularly on cloudy days or at dusk. ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ is an All-America Selections flower winner, which means it performs well in all parts of the country. Cones are the classic coppery hue and provide nice contrast with the vibrant petals.

A cross between purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and yellow coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa) yields the beautiful Echinacea ‘Sundown’, which is also sold as ‘Evan Saul’. This coneflower open flowers with russet-orange petals that stand out horizontally from red-brown cones. The blooms also bring a soft fragrance to plantings or bouquets.

Tuck Echinacea ‘Tiki Torch’ into the garden to add glowing orange tones to plantings. Flowers on this coneflower are large—almost palm-sized. Coppery cones complement the orange petals perfectly. You’ll love growing this coneflower for its summer show of bright blooms that look just as good in a vase as in the garden. Like all Echinacea, ‘Tiki Torch’ is drought-tolerant once established and relatively carefree. Simply plant it and enjoy.

Stir up some color changing magic by planting ‘Green Envy’ coneflower. This Echinacea relative has flowers that open in shades of chartreuse and lime. As blossoms age, the petals shift from green to purple-pink toward the cone end, creating a two-tone effect. Typically summer colors in the garden are hot, featuring shades of red, orange and yellow. Include ‘Green Envy’ coneflower among hot colored blooms to cool the scene with its green and pink.

Echinacea ‘Ruby Star’ offer petals with a deeper shade than purple coneflower and held out horizontally from the central cone. Flowers measure up to 4 inches across. Plant ‘Ruby Star’ coneflower if you want a traditional daisy-type flower with purple coneflower coloring.

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