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Very, Very Special Coneflowers

Very, Very Special Coneflowers

By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

OMG campers! Can you believe it is August? So many perennials have faded, lost their verve, stopped blooming. Enter the coneflower! Dun Dun Dun… it is rocking the garden! Terra Nova’s fields are ablaze with a virtual explosion of color in our Echinacea breeding areas. In the opinion of the author, we have created, in form and function, the best coneflowers on earth.

Terra Nova’s coneflowers have received numerous awards for outstanding performance in so many trials. So much of this feedback came to Terra Nova’s breeders with the invention of the Kismet series, described as “the perfect coneflower in both form and function.”

There is a point called an endpoint in breeding, where breeders are perplexed by asking themselves, “How can I improve this plant any further?” Terra Nova does not stop there. Through specific crosses and the introduction of new species of Echinacea, they are creating superior series with fascinating new colors. They have their dwarves suitable for bedding, mid-sized plants which can rock a container, and larger beauties which command a presence in the landscape. Here are other select varieties that are emblematic of the different series they belong to.

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Echinacea CARA MIA™ 'Spicy'

CARA MIA ‘Spicy’ is a mid-border to background Echinacea which made us all look twice. The added height, perfect stem and flower placement made it look like a living bouquet! Plus, the unusual pomegranate color makes it a showstopper. A member of our popular CARA MIA™ series known for their landscape performance, they are large, double anemone-type flowers with a dark central eye, and sturdy habit on dense foliage. One of the best cut flowers, too!

Also in the series: Echinacea CARA MIA™ 'Carmine', CARA MIA™ 'Coral', CARA MIA™ 'Sands', CARA MIA™ 'Seashell,’ and CARA MIA™ 'Yellow'.


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Echinacea DARK SHADOWS™ 'Wicked'

Echinacea DARK SHADOWS™ ‘Wicked’ is one of Terra Nova's best Echinacea hybrids! Very upright with glowing watermelon-pink blooms held in a perfect bouquet pattern. The DARK SHADOWS™ series features dramatic, dark chocolate-colored stems and cones on bright colored single flowers. Incredibly eye-catching with contrasting tones, a bold and dramatic look with forest green, foliage-covered dense crowns.

Also in the series: Echinacea DARK SHADOWS™ 'Mystic'.

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Echinacea PRIMA™ ‘Ginger

Echinacea PRIMA™ ‘Ginger’ is a powerhouse of charming multicolored blooms that start a soft orange and age to a pink tone. It’s part of the PRIMA™ Collection bred for a short, clumping habit with multiple crowns. Blooms the first year with numerous flowers. Lovely in a container or as a border.

Also in the series: Echinacea PRIMA™ ‘Amarillo’, PRIMA™ ‘Berry’, PRIMA™ ‘Ruby’, PRIMA™ 'Saffron', and PRIMA™ ‘Tiger’.


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Echinacea SUNDIAL™ 'Pink'

Echinacea SUNDIAL™ ‘Pink’ is a WOW plant! Massive 5″ blooms with emerald green eyes give way to a vibrant pink cone and bubblegum-pink petals. The series features massive, novel anemone-type flowers highlighted by long arching petals. Plant habit is short, branching from the base for a full look. Great for containers, front of bed or borders. The largest double cone flowers yet!

Also in the series: Echinacea SUNDIAL™ 'Zenith'.

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Echinacea SUNNY DAYS™ ‘Lemon

An exciting addition to TERRA NOVA®'s Echinacea selection! SUNNY DAYS™ ‘Lemon’ is a medium, upright plant smothered in sunny yellow double flowers. The SUNNY DAYS™ series features exceptionally heavy flowering varieties that will blow you away with the sheer number of flowers they produce over the season. The deep emerald green foliage goes clear to the ground and makes these plants really stand out in a crowded Echinacea field. Top trial garden performance, fragrant, and attracts pollinators, too.

Also in the series:  Echinacea SUNNY DAYS™ ‘Ruby’.

Dan Heims is an award-winning author who lectures throughout the world. He was recently honored by The American Horticultural Society with the Luther Burbank Breeding Award, as well as the Perennial Plant Association’s Award of Merit. He was honored by receiving the Royal Horticultural Society’s Reginald Cory Cup for advancements in breeding.

You may contact Dan at [email protected].

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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