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What’s New With Coneflowers?

Our expert weeds through a ton of recent introductions to help you select the best of the bunch

Fine Gardening - Issue 194
1. ‘Sunbird’ 2. Sombrero® Salsa Red 3. Double Scoop™ Bubble Gum 4. ‘Orange Passion’ 5. Sombrero® Sangrita 6. Kismet® Yellow 7. ’Snow Cone’ 8. ‘Pica Bella’ 9. Sombrero® Hot Coral 10. ‘Santa Fe’ Photo: courtesy of Richard Hawke

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.

Zones: 3–9

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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