The daisy-petalled Echinacea (Echinacea), also known as Coneflower, is a colorful mainstay of summer gardens. These large-blossomed elegant beauties get their name from their prominent cone-shaped seeded centers. A distinctive coppery orange, the flower’s large 1-inch center contrasts delightfully with long, oval pinkish-purple petals. Echinacea’s 3 to 4-inch diameter blossom heads rise on long, thin 24 to 30-inch stalks to sway regally over smaller garden plants like skirted dancers.
A delightful addition to the garden that blooms all summer long, Enchinacea will thrive in either sun or partial shade. Echinacea attracts butterflies to the garden during the summer and goldfinches in the fall as seed heads ripen. An undemanding plant, coneflowers tolerate hot, dry conditions and do beautifully in ordinary, well-drained soil. Soil should be allowed to dry out between thorough weekly waterings. Enchinacea plants should be divided about every three years to optimize performance. Faded flowers can be removed or left on the stem. When allowed to remain over the winter, seed heads attract birds and create interesting texture in the winter garden.
Enchinacea’s pinkish blooms are particularly striking set against a purple background. For a particularly stunning display, try planting Enchinacea against a border of lavender-colored Perovskia (Perovskia), also known as Russian Sage. Coneflower’s bright pink petals also make an attractive display when paired with the majestic purple spikes of Delphinium (Delphinium). Coneflowers add a bright spot of carefree color clumped against a background of deep green Hardy Fern (Multiple). When plants are interspersed with Lupine’s (Lupine) thick bell-flowered spikes, Enchinacea’s delicate petals create a lovely, eye-catching contrast that is sure to please garden lovers everywhere.