Top 10 Coneflowers
With dozens of new coneflowers on the market, learn how to pick the best for your backyard.
Ah, coneflowers. How can you not love ’em? After all, they feed the birds, offer some of the longest-lasting blooms around, and are naturally drought-tolerant. To choose the top coneflowers, we teamed up with Great Garden Plants (greatgardenplants.com). This online plant company in Holland, Michigan, is definitely up on the latest coneflower trends. President Mary Walters helped us narrow down the latest and greatest echinaceas in several categories. Consider adding one (or 10) of these showstoppers to your garden.
Best Yellow: Sunrise
Bring a little sunshine into your garden with this buttery yellow coneflower. It will bloom up to eight weeks in your perennial garden; as it flowers, the petals fade to a soft white.
Also try: If you want to turn it up a notch from the softer shades of Sunrise, look for Harvest Moon. And if you want to turn it up one more notch, consider Maui Sunshine.
Best Double Bloomer: Pink Double Delight
Pink Double Delight took what people love about coneflowers and doubled it! The pink pompom blooms make a big impact in the garden, and they’re fragrant, too.
Also try: Marmalade is a nice option, especially if you need a break from pink. The blooms are a mix of orange and yellow.
Best White: Virgin
Virgin is really the cream of the crop when it comes to white coneflowers. It has very full, fragrant blooms with an upright habit, so they don’t require staking.
Also try: Fragrant Angel definitely delivers the fragrance. Hummingbirds and butterflies love the full blooms, and the plant thrives in heat.
Best Unique Form: Raspberry Truffle
Another double bloomer, this coneflower sports enormous 3-inch-wide flowers. It first became available in 2011, and gardeners are already impressed with its performance, endurance and unique coloring.
Also try: Double Decker looks as if it has another set of blooms growing from the cone of the main flower. If you want unique, it delivers.
Best Unique Color: Green Envy
Is it green? Is it pink? Actually, it’s both, and it’ll stop flower fanatics in their tracks, with fragrant blooms that are bright pink in the center and lime green on the edges. It has a long bloom period, too, so it’s definitely worth a try.
Also try: Double Scoop Orangeberry is a new variety for 2012. It claims to carry more than 30 two-tone blooms per plant, and birds and butterflies love it.
Best Orange: Tangerine Dream
If you like to make a statement, this plant is a must-have for your garden. Given a little time, it will reach heights of more than 30 inches, with mounds of pumpkin-orange blooms. To top it off, the flowers have a strong, spicy fragrance.
Also try: Tiki Torch is a fade-resistant orange with more upright blooms. Coral Reef has interesting centers and looks lovely in bouquets.
Best Compact: PowWow Wild Berry
You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck with PowWow Wild Berry. It’s only 24 inches tall, but produces many giant blooms on each stem—and they keep coming for up to five months.
Also try: Little Annie is so cute, you’ll want to pinch its petals! It only grows 6 to 9 inches tall, making it just right for containers.
Best Red: Sombrero Salsa Red
One benefit of new coneflower varieties is that they produce more blooms on each branch. This is definitely the case with Sombrero Salsa Red. Its abundant deep-red blooms will steal the show for more than three months.
Why we love it: Red Knee High has a bit of a classic look with deep, rich bloom color. It’s also compact, so try it in tight places.
Best Classic: Magnus Superior
Now you can have the best of both worlds—the classic coneflower shape and color along with the added benefits of newer varieties. Fragrant and drought-tolerant, this beauty blooms from early summer through fall. If you need to replace any of your current classic coneflowers, this is the one for you.
Also try: Hope is another variety worth checking out. The coloring is a lighter pink, but it has the classic shape, and a portion of the proceeds goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Best Green: Green Jewel
Want a true green flower? Look no further—Green Jewel has large 4-inch flowers that get even greener as the flowers age. It grows up to 2 feet tall and wide, with more than 20 blooms per plant.
Also try: Coconut Lime is really a mix of green and white flowers. This double-blooming variety sports white petals below and pompom-like greenish blooms above. Every garden should have one!