Not really "purple"

I've grown echinacea purpea or "purple coneflowers" for years. They're beautiful, bee magnets, bulletproof in the heat, feed the birds -- just a perfect native garden flower. I've always grown the traditional purple varieties like 'Magnus', but a couple of years ago I added a couple of 'White Swan', which (not surprisingly) have white flowers. "Purple" coneflowers are now available in almost any color you want. Last year I added a few new varieties, and although I lost two of them over the winter (the reports on some of the new types seem to indicate they're not as reliably cold-hardy as older varieties), they're starting to bloom now and they're wonderful!


I'll need to put out some plant tags so I can remember which plants are which, but I think this one is 'Big Sky Twilight'. It's sort of a dusky pinkish orange. Kind of pale but really nice.


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This next one is 'Big Sky Sundown' I believe:


Much deeper, darker colors than 'Twilight'. More orange, with some purple mixed in. Beautiful!

This is obviously a white one, but looks different than my 'White Swan' plants:


I don't remember the petals curling under like that on 'White Swan' before, but it's a nice look I think. I wonder if it's a different variety that I don't remember planting, something that came from seed, or maybe just a more mature 'White Swan'?

I'll know for certain once more of the white ones open, like this one:


This next one is a "normal" purple one I believe, but it's hard to tell this early in its development:


Interesting that the purple ones haven't opened yet, but that could be due to some deer pruning:


Herbivores are the only problem I've ever had with echinacea and most other native plants. Native critters love eating native plants!

I'm really curious to see exactly what color this next flower is going to be:


It's not strictly white, but it seems to have a lot of white in it. This one definitely grew from seed, as it's below the raised bed where the other coneflowers grow. Maybe a new hybrid? I may have to put a fence around it to protect it from deer teeth until I can see what the flowers look like. I don't like fencing plants because I don't like seeing the fences, but a fenced plant is prettier than a chomped plant, right?

I can't wait to see what other colors of "purple" coneflower pop up in this bed, and I'm definitely going to keep my eyes open for deals on some of the newer varieties.

(I still love the purple ones though.)

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Gerhard Bock  – (June 14, 2011 at 10:24 AM)  

Alan, we had several of the Blue Sky series but ended up taking them out because the color only lasts for a week or so and then fades to an unattractive whitish pink. It might be different in your climate where you have a lot more humidity.

The best new hybrids for us are the ones by Terra Nova Nurseries. 'Tiki Torch' and 'Tomato Soup' have been standouts. These hybrids are widely available here; you may find them in your area as well.

Gerhard
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Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (June 14, 2011 at 10:27 AM)  

I almost got 'Tomato Soup' last year, but it's really pricey. Hopefully it will be cheaper this year.

Curbstone Valley Farm  – (June 14, 2011 at 12:36 PM)  

I seem to have a lot of purple plants this year, as many of our drought tolerant species here seem have purple blooms. I like Echincea, but have resisted planting them because all I see are the purple ones. However, the warm glow of Big Sky Twilight, I'd plant that in a heartbeat! I might have to keep my eyes open for that. I know the butterflies and bees would enjoy them!

anne  – (June 14, 2011 at 6:08 PM)  

I like having echinacea in the garden too, only the 2 fun colors I've gotten in the past haven't come back at all! I think there is something to the new hybrid thing....however, because I enjoy them so much, I got another one this year called Razzmatazz for both the color & the way it looks. I can't even remember where I put it in the garden - I hope it's still alive!

Let us know what your mystery color is and put a fence around it - sometimes I just have to do that too.

sllawrence –   – (July 12, 2011 at 9:50 AM)  

I've been bitten by the new Echinacea cultivars bug, too. I bought E. "Sunset" in 2010. It looks a lot like your "Twilight". It made it through last year's harsh winter, though it came back late. As to fading, I've found they don't fade - at least this one doesn't - in part shade. Mine gets mainly morning sun here in the Texas hill country, where the sun is aka 'the death star', (zone 8b). I heard on PlantFiles that "Sunset" has been pulled by most nurseries due to petal curl. Mine, thus far, has not exhibited that, thank goodness. I also have a new double, E. "Double Delight Pink", a bubble gum pink, that is a heavy bloomer but with more fragile stems than we see with E. "Magnus". Right now coveting "Hot Papaya" and two green cultivars: "Green Jewell". Even the centers are green, and "Coconut Lime", another anemone double bloom with pale green centers and white petals.

BTW, your white with the shorter curved petals looks like the new white I just bought this year, called "Pow Wow White". It is a fragrant Echinacea. Do you notice a color difference between the centers of your two whites? "White Swan" has a greenish center and "Pow Wow White has a more gold center, it seems to me.

Enjoy your blog. Thanks!

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