Best coneflowers?

Philadelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

I can tell you the ones that grow best in containers for us at the nursery and the few selected ones I've grown, but I can't grow everything. It's hard to advise customers honestly on what grows best based on container performance.

My thoughts (good and bad)

'Merlot'- Fav. based on container growth and appearance with nice sturdy stems accented by interesting colour, slightly shorter than the average coneflower according to the tag
'Elton Knight'- At first glance, it seems similar to 'Merlot', but I don't know enough about it
'Coconut Lime'- I love the promise behind this plant, but it seems to get floppy.
'Green Envy'- Again, I love the promise of this plant with it's unique flower, but haven't grown it
'Kim's Knee High'- reputed to get much taller than on tag, even in full sun
'Magnus'- Seems to be our best seller- No surprise given it's status as a PPA plant of the year
'Ruby Giant'- Customers pick this up first when it is displayed next to the Magnus.

Also, I get a lot of people who ask what cultivar has the LEAST reflexed petals...opinions?

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

1.) Pink Double Delight - Best performer for me by far. Blooms nonstop all summer. Great basal branching means MORE BLOOMS!

2.) Milkshake - Best white double. Very long lasting blooms. I divided my plant within a month of planting it. Many, many blooms.

3.) Coconut Lime - Doesn't flop for me! If it's in a sunny location this plant is covered with blooms. The bloom color isn't that great though. It's a greenish white and gets brown spots when they start fading.

The least reflexed petals would have to be Echinacea tennesseensis or Pixie Meadowbrite in my opinion.

Philadelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

Awesome!

Perhaps the growers fertilize too heavily to get the plant to retail and that's why the 'Coconut Lime' flops.

Have you grown 'Meringue'? Our suppliers do not carry 'Milkshake', but I will be on the lookout for it if it pops up.

I can do a list of cultivars that we almost always have, if that helps any
purpurea
'Elton Knight'
'Merlot'
'Fatal Attraction'
'After Midnight'
'Magnus'
'Ruby Giant'
'Ruby Star'
'Green Envy'
'Meringue'
'Coconut Lime'
'White Swan'
'Pink Double Delight'
'Razzmatazz'
'Kim's Knee High'
Pixie Meadowbrite
Orange Meadowbrite
Mango Meadowbrite
Summer Sky
Sundown
Harvest Moon

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

I haven't tried Meringue. I tried ordering it last year, but could not get it. It's often sold as a bare root plant and I never plant bareroot Echinaceas.

Razzmatazz is awesome too. I have had one for 4 years in the same spot. It's in a wet location too and still performs great. I've heard some complain about it, but it's good here. Pink Double Delight is shorter and has more blooms, however.

I despise the Big Sky Series. I have had some horrible results with those plants. I do have to say that After Midnight is doing the best of them for me.

I must add that Tiki Torch has been a poor performer for me. I'm giving it another shot though. My local nursery had them in and I bought a new one from her. This is just a test to see if the stock caused the poor performance. I'm also testing it in two different locations. One is full sun and the other is afternoon shade.

(Lynn) Paris, TX(Zone 7b)

Summer Sky has done well for me, but I prefer ones that are brighter colored.

Philadelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

I've heard nothing but awful things about the Sky series. Weak stems, don't come back, the whole lot. These are reports from zones 6 and 7.

I have to buy them because people ask for them, but both my professional gardening friends and my customers seem to hate the whole series.

(Lynn) Paris, TX(Zone 7b)

I haven't had any of them but the Summer Sky. I just took a picture of them, looks like something is nibbling on the petals. They start out okay, then get chewed on as they get larger.

Thumbnail by lrwells50
(Lynn) Paris, TX(Zone 7b)

Or they may be deformed, I can't tell

Thumbnail by lrwells50
Ft Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10a)

Interesting question. I'm sure everyone will have a different list depending on how each variety grows for them. I have or have had 28 different Echinacea down here in Zone 10. Many of them I'm still neutral on as I've had them for less than a year. Here's my best and worst performing lists based on having them at least 1 1/2 years or longer:
Best
1) Sundown (has basically bloomed nonstop for 2 years)
2) Harvest Moon (long flowering season for me down here)
3) Green Eyes (stops blooming in the winter but blooms nonstop from May-Oct)
4) Ozark (my 2 were grown from seed last fall and are very sized plants already)
5) Fatal Attraction
Least Favorite/Toughest Ones For Me
1) Summer Sky (have tried in twice and neither survived past one season)
2) Pink Parasol (grew from seed and 2 for 2 didn't come back this year)
3) Sunrise (no substantial growth in year 2 compared to year 1 and occasionally blooms)
4) Green Envy (no substantial growth from year 1 to year 2. Only bloomed 4 or 5 times last year)
5) Green Jewel (no substantial growth from year 1 to year 2. I do like the very large sized blooms though)
Least Reflexed Petals
1) Green Eyes (petals always remain flat)
2) Fatal Attraction (petals lay flat or slightly facing upward)

Jon

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

Irwells50,

That is what I call the Big Sky Series Deformed Blooms. I have seen so many of that series with deformed blooms. There is seriously something wrong with their plants.

(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

Worst Echinacea I've seen by far...

Mac 'N Cheese

This thing is a disaster happening all across the country as we speak!

(Lynn) Paris, TX(Zone 7b)

Too bad Summer Sky seems to be the one that is the healthiest!

Philadelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

I have quite a lot of experience growing orchids. When an orchid cultivar is meristemmed too many times from an initial cell line, the flowers get funky.

I would assume that the "Big Sky Series" (due to it's popularity) was tissue cultured from the same small batch of initial meristems. That would explain why you would see deformity across the board in a particular series or cultivar.

It's just an educated guess.

(Lynn) Paris, TX(Zone 7b)

Rudbeckia Goldstrum finally blooming

Thumbnail by lrwells50
(Clint) Medina, TN(Zone 7b)

Thanks for that info phalaeo!

I tried tissue culture and failed. I would love to try again someday. I might go to one of those Kitchen Culture courses eventually.

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