I think many gardeners oscillate between loving and hating coneflowers—I know I do. It’s a phenomenon I’ve observed for nearly 20 years. I was there at the turn of the millennium when the humble coneflower had its breakout moment as Orange Meadowbrite®, the first orange-flowered selection, was introduced by the Chicago Botanic Garden. The excitement for the veritable rainbow of colors and whimsical double-flowered forms that followed was contagious and sparked a coneflower craze that most of us got caught up in.
Coneflowers at a glance
Name: Echinacea spp. and cvs.
Conditions: Full sun; variable soil conditions based on species
Native range: Moist prairies, meadows, and open woods of the central to southeastern United States
Pests/diseases: Aster yellows, crown rot, stem wilt, Japanese beetles, and eriophyid mites
Unfortunately, a few too many misfires or outright duds over the years irritated gardeners, inciting a backlash against coneflowers.…
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