'Hot Papaya' Coneflower
Spice up your garden with the sizzling hue of 'Hot Papaya' coneflower.
Image courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company
Turn up the color in your garden with the bold hues of ‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower. This colorful beauty is a coneflower hybrid, and it reveals its purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) heritage with thick green leaves and maroon-striped stems. ‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower is a traffic stopper, guaranteed to turn heads—including your own.
‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower boasts bold color that sparkles in the summer garden. Flowers appear in midsummer, lasting for 8 to 12 weeks. The blossoms create a colorful display that changes as blooms mature. When ‘Hot Papaya’ flowers first appear, the center cones appear flat with a deep orange-yellow hue. Flowers petals boast a rich papaya-orange shade.
As ‘Hot Papaya’ blossoms age, the cones begin to develop a ruffle of petals along the edges, which slowly emerge across the entire cone. Eventually the cone is a full double pompon in red-orange hues. A papaya-orange halo forms on the cone giving it a two-toned effect. Petals offer a multicolored look with a brick-orange base accented with bursts of lilac, deep pink, gold and yellow.
The look of ‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower is unlike any coneflower you’ve ever seen. Those who have included it in their gardens are wowed, calling it a double orange coneflower they’d never be without. The color is striking, along with the changing flower form. Plant en masse, and ‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower is sure to stop traffic.
‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower grows 30 to 36 inches tall and 24 to 30 inches wide. Plants form a clump in the garden and look best when planted in groups. Clumps spread slowly by forming offsets, young plants that form near the crown of the plant. Seeds seem to be sterile in this hybrid, so you won’t have active self-sowing like occurs with purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).
Cut ‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower blooms for bouquets, and you’ll be rewarded with an easy two-week-long vaselife. The same is true in the garden—flowers are long-lasting on plants. It’s not unusual for a single plant to have up to 10 blossoms open at once in varying stages of maturity, so it presents a colorful display. Each blossom measures roughly 3 to 3.5 inches across.
Like other coneflowers, ‘Hot Papaya’ grows in tough conditions, withstanding drought once established. Plants grow in lean, rocky or clay soil, but do demand good winter drainage for longest life. ‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower is hardy in Zones 4 to 9.
Use ‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower in a rain garden for a pop of cheery orange, or tuck it into a perennial border as a living focal point. The lavender blooms of Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) pair well with ‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower, as do ornamental grasses like ‘Morning Light’ miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’) or ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerstser’). Skirt ‘Hot Papaya’ coneflower with ‘Toffee Twist’ carex (Carex flagellifera ‘Toffee Twist’).