Coneflowers – July 2021
July 2021 Plant of the Month
As summer temperatures rise in the garden, many plants start to fade. Not coneflowers (Echinacea)! These long-blooming perennials thrive in full sun and heat, adding vibrant color to the garden from summer to frost. Coneflowers aren’t only pretty – they’re also problem-solvers in the landscape. They adapt easily to any well-draining soil (even poor soils) and can handle mild drought once established. Even in gardens plagued with deer, coneflowers always seem unfazed. Deer and other garden pests dislike their hairy leaves, stems, and prickly cones that serve as the namesake of this hardy perennial.
Coneflowers are easy to grow and even easier to love, which is why you’ll find them in gardens all over the US. After planting them, you’ll soon learn that gardeners aren’t the only ones that love coneflowers! Pollinators find their blooms irresistible – and we can’t blame them. Colorful petals radiate from a prominent center cone, composed of hundreds of fertile florets, loaded with pollen, nectar, and fragrance. Flowers give way to prominent seed heads, which can be left standing in the fall and winter to attract birds.
How To Grow Coneflowers
- Soil: Any well-drained soil will do.
- Light: Full sun. Plant them in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of full sun a day. If planted in too much shade, plants may flop or strain to reach the sun.
- Water: Average. Water regularly the first season to encourage good root growth. Though coneflowers handle heat and dry conditions well once established, they appreciate regular watering and flower more if they are not stressed.
- Spacing: 16 – 20 inches
- Fertilizing: Little needed. Over-fertilizing will cause spindly growth, so once in the spring with a granular garden fertilizer is more than sufficient.
- Winterizing: Avoid damp spots. Do not heap mulching over crowns in winter, as this can cause rot. Leave the foliage and old flowers standing for winter (birds enjoy the seed heads), then trim back or remove spent foliage in early spring before new growth emerges.
- Maintenance & Pruning: Once planted, they are best left alone, as they do not transplant well. Deadheading (snipping off the spent blooms) is not necessary but does increase new flower production!
Every gardener should have a few (or more) coneflowers, which is why we’re highlighting it as our July plant of the month! They come in an array of colors and sizes, so they’re easy to mix and match. While we offer 18 different varieties, here are our favorites in each color:
Color Coded™ 'Frankly Scarlet'
With scarlet-red blooms, Color Coded™ ‘Frankly Scarlet’ coneflower adds a punch of color to the summer garden. It’s frankly one of the best coneflowers on the market, and the pollinators agree. It’s beloved by bees, butterflies, and gardeners everywhere!
Color Coded™ 'Orange You Awesome'
Juicy tangerine flowers on Color Coded™ ‘Orange You Awesome’ never fade, even in the heat. Heavily saturated orange petals open in the heat of the summer with pink and red hues. It’s practically a fruity cocktail for pollinators!
Color Coded™ 'The Price Is White'
Looking for some consistency? Color Coded™ ‘The Price is White’ is produced clonally from tissue culture, so all the plants are identical. The result is large, white, uniform blooms! The petals are so large that they overlap, creating a full-looking flower you can enjoy all summer long.
Color Coded™ 'Yellow My Darling'
Color Coded™ ‘Yellow My Darling’ will be the star of your flowerbed with cheery bright yellow flowers. Their saturated yellow blooms age to a creamy yellow, resulting in different toned flowers on the same plant. It looks picture perfect on tall stems, even in the heat!
Powwow® Wild Berry
PowWow® Wild Berry may be compact, but it sure does pack a punch with brilliant berry-colored blooms! Improved branching means it blooms more profusely than the rest, resulting in a flood of flowers from summer to frost.
‘Magnus Superior’ is known as a classic coneflower for a good reason! This award-winning traditional variety boasts gigantic blooms with vivid purple petals radiating from the copper center. It stands taller in the landscape, reaching 36 inches tall with strong stems.