Posts Tagged ‘Flowers’

Our Favorite Prairie Flowers

Icon Written by Wayne on June 1, 2009 – 12:01 am

One of our special flowers for the sunny gardens are the common coneflower found throughout most of the United States. Coneflowers are found from the North Carolina Piedmont northward across the prairie states and into the Dakota Badlands, from the Mississippi wetlands to the Colorado Front Range mountian meadows, and even in the harsh high deserts of the Southwest. This native American perennial puts up with heat and humidity, infertile soil, and even drought. This common purple flower has been found in the flower garden for centuries.

Well just what is so special about a common purple flower which has been used in the garden since the dawn of gardening? Well for starters the coneflower has become anything but common nor does it only come in shades of purple. We now can choose from yellows, whites, oranges, reds, and many shades of purple. We see double, semi-double, and single flowering plants born on stems from knee height to over six feet tall. Big things have been happening to this “common” native wildflower in recent years.


Echinacea Sunset

We suggest trying Echinacea Sunset which has blooms 4 inches wide, with bright orange petals surrounding a large brown cone.  This long blooming flower carries 20-30 blooms at one time on thick stems ideal for cutting. This plant is 30 inches tall and wide, well-branched and sturdy, blooming from Summer well into Fall. A snap to grow, putting up with everything from heat and humidity to poor soil, cold winters, and drought. 

Echinaccea Sunsrise

Echinaccea Sunsrise

Echinacea Sunrise is another good choice with it’s 4½ to 5 inches rich yellow flowers with a sweet fragrance. As the blooms mature, they turn a darker shade of yellow. This is another coneflower with sturdy thick stems. Sunrise reaches 18 to 24 inches tall and 24 inches wide, well-branched and sturdy. The butterflies and bees will have a field day with the huge central cones. 

Echinacea Primadonna

Echinacea Primadonna

We also like Echinacea Primadonna which has a large central cone and tightly-packed white petals that really stand out in the garden. They also make fine bird attractors in the Fall, after the petals drop and the large seed-filled cones dry out on the plant. Primadonna , once established in your garden, it will put up with heat, humidity, cold, poor soil, and even drought. Very long-blooming, it is largely untroubled by pests or disease, and can be sheared back after flowering. 

Echinacea Fancy Frills

Echinacea Fancy Frills

Our last selection is Echinacea Fancy Frills flowers heavily well into Fall, flowers reach 3 to 5 inches wide and are semi- to fully double. Each bloom has a large, wide amber-brown central cone, surrounded by two to three rows of short, slender, very tightly-packed petals. It has a rich, sweet, and far stronger smell than most other coneflowers. Fancy Frills reaches about 30 inches high and wide and is great for cut flowers with it’s long thick stems.

All of the above coneflowers are currently being offered by Wayside gardens. We think that this is only the beginning, expect to see many new coneflowers being introduced in the near future.We strongly suggest that you give this plant a try in your gardens.



Tips of the Month

Here are some other coneflowers which we have tried in our gardens over the years:

1 Echinacea pallida ‘Pale Purple Coneflower’ which  blooms in early summer, 2-3 inch, pale-lavender, slender ray flowers droop gracefully on this lance-leaved prairie native. This is an elegant Coneflower that is more subtle than E. purpurea. Beautiful in the meadow garden with grasses and Yarrows. Native.

2. Echinacea paradoxa ‘Yellow Purple Coneflower’ is a prairie native that is a rare form of Echinacea with graceful, drooping rays of warm yellow. A toughie for full sun and lean soils; plenty of seeds for the birds.

3. Echinacea pupurea ‘Rubinstern’ is a medium tall coneflower with glowing red flowers with horizontal petals on robust plants. Stands out immediately when first seen. Beautiful in the meadow garden with grasses and Yarrows.

4. Echinacea purpurea ‘Art’s Pride’ is an amazing coneflower that comes from the breeding program of Dr. Jim Ault of the Chicago Botanic Garden. The lack of summer orange in the garden has been cured. Each two foot wide clump of slender green foliage is topped starting in late June and continuing through the summer with spikes of rustic-orange flowers.

5. Echinacea purpurea ‘Kims Knee-High Coneflower’ was introduced by Niche Gardens in Spring 1999, this compact purple coneflower has brilliant pink blooms, incredibly long season of bloom, and sturdy height, typically topping out a foot shorter than the species. We think the excellent qualities of the lovely coneflower will keep you coming back for more.

6. Echinacea purpurea ‘Kims Mop Head Coneflower’ is a single, white-flowered selection with a greenish disc, this sister to E. ‘Kim’s Knee High’. The “mop head” description refers to the petals that are fringy . This compact selection makes a great addition to the front of sunny borders, and glows along paths in the evening garden.

 7. Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus Coneflower’  a native found in open woods and on prairies. It grows to 30 inches and has long stiff stems with one large cone with showy purple ray flowers. The flower has long rays that reflex downward somewhat with a cone that is hard and prickly. This is a much valued perennial for the garden loved by butterflies

8. Echinacea purpurea ‘Pale Purple  Coneflower’ has flexed, hot-pink petals that reach upward then slowly expand, widen and gracefully bend down. The cone becomes a very prominent, iridescent orange with red tips. An eye-catcher both from afar and on close inspection.

Further information on all of these coneflowers along with pictures can be found in our Plant Data Base at our web site at We encourage you to visit our site  for lots of useful gardening information.


Flower of the Month

000278aEchinacea purpurea

‘Fragrant Angel’ is a white coneflower that others can only aspire to. Grows just like ‘Ruby Giant’, with large, fragrant, and horizontal flowers with layered, overlapping petals and huge yellow cones. The strong branching stems extend the blooming season through summer and fall.


Web Site

Prairie Nursery ( is dedicated to bringing their customers quality plants and seeds, and sharing our knowledge of cultural and landscape uses of native plants.Since 1972 Prairie Nursery has been devoted to improving and rebuilding the environment by encouraging ecological gardening using native plants for soil, water, and habitat conservation. Their mission is to preserve native plants and animals by helping people to create attractive, non-polluting natural landscapes that can support a diversity of wildlife.

The act of ecological restoration with native plants provides us each with a spiritual connection to the earth.  It brings us closer to nature as we invite all forms of life into our world.  It is simply amazing to see the various butterflies, moths, birds, and other beautiful creatures that visit the native plants upon which they depend for sustenance and survival.

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