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GardenSMART :: We're Coneflower Crazy

We're Coneflower Crazy

By Kate Karam, Monrovia

Big, pretty flowers, tough and hardy, perennial, and flowers in August when there's a bit of a lull in the perennial border. It's hard to beat coneflowers for a fuss-free late summer charmer.

From the original purple classic have come hundreds of stellar hybrids expanding the range of colors to virtually the entire rainbow. Here are a few we recommend for their distinct colors and appeal to summer and late-season pollinators—see the entire story here. Remember to deadhead after the main event in August-September to encourage flowering into the autumn!

GardenSMART Article Image

Saxon Holt Photography

(Above is Ruby Star coneflower, which has extra-big flowers…and a couple of awards, too.)

Gleaming and Glowing

From pure white to muted creams and ivories, removing coneflower's traditional warm, bright colors really shows the simple elegance of these flowers. How perfect for a mid-to-late summer all-white garden with swaths of Shasta daisies, phlox, and buddleia!

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Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

PowWow® White Coneflower

Zone: 3 – 9

Because the plant branches from the base, it also produces more flower stems! Perfect for beds, mixed borders and containers. Drought tolerant once established. Herbaceous perennial.

Sunny and Happy

The garden needs saturated color when the sun goes full-on in summer (butterflies love these colors!). Mix with other shades of reds or tone down the effect with splashes of blue, purple, or waves of green. We like penstemon, veronica, and Limelight hydrangea.

GardenSMART Article Image

Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Sundown Big Sky™ Series Coneflower

Zone: 4 – 9

Fragrant! Bright orange flowers that segue seamlessly into the fall garden. Thick flower stems make them ideal for arrangements. An easy, prolific, and reliable performer. Hardy perennial.

Warm and Mellow

Why not plant something now that flows into fall's deep, rich, harvest colors? While pale melon might not might be your first thought when designing a border or a container, the velvet-hued sumptuousness creates a sophistication that's pretty enviable.

GardenSMART Article Image

Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Supreme Cantaloupe Coneflower

Zone: 4 – 10

Like no other – a coneflower the exact color of a ripe cantaloupe! Fragrant, long lasting anemone-type blooms show off atop strong, non-floppy stems. (With blue hydrangeas? Wow.)

Bold and Bright

Siren song for pollinators and magazine-worthy when cut and massed in a large vase, reds and deeps pinks also help bring all those green boxwood hedges and other more formal borders to life. Adding a few catmint and fine-leafed grasses enhances the look.

GardenSMART Article Image

Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Merlot Coneflower

Zone: 4 – 9

Butterflies swarm to the rich pink flowers on dark-hued stems. Fragrant, too! Excellent for naturalized gardens, traditional beds, borders or containers. Does not require staking. Hardy perennial.

Cultivating Coneflowers:

  • Provide average, well-drained soil.
  • Water deeply, regularly during the first growing season to establish an extensive root system.
  • Reduce frequency once established; tolerates mild dry spells.
  • Clip spent flowers to promote repeat bloom.
  • Cut back in fall after frost, or leave dried seed heads through winter.
  • Prune any old foliage and fertilize before new growth begins in spring.

For more fuss-free pollinator magnets, visit our blog, Grow Beautifully. While you're there, be sure to sign up for our award-winning monthly newsletter, Plant Savvy.


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Article and photos courtesy of Gardener’s Supply

Blossom end rot is a common garden physiological disorder caused by lack of calcium within the plant. A soil test is suggested and a PH of at least 6.5-7.0 is suggested. To learn more click here for an informative article.

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