Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Purple coneflower continues to be one of the most popular cut flowers. It is just perfect for late summer bouquets.
Even if you donít have a separate cutting garden, you can include some purple coneflower plants elsewhere, such as in flower beds and borders as well as herb gardens.
When it comes time to buy seed or plants of purple coneflower, there are many cultivars available. In addition to the standard pinkish colored native, you will find ones with flowers in most every color, including orange, white, red, and yellow. Some of these have been introduced in recent years.
Some of the newer kinds of purple coneflowers can be grown from seed, while others must be purchased as plants since they donít come true from seed.
Letís look at some of the rather unusual varieties. Bravado has large, rose-red blooms, while Robert Bloom has reddish-purple ones. Bright Star is noted for its rose-pink blossoms with drooping petals. Springbrook Crimson Star features bronze-toned leaves and crimson blooms.
So far as white-flowering ones are concerned, you have several different choices. White Swan has petals that are almost pure white. This has brown centers. White Lustre is an off-white, and features reflexed petals.
If you donít have a lot of space in your cutting garden, grow one of the dwarf kinds, such as Kimís Knee High. This only grows to about 1Ĺ feet in height.
When you are growing purple coneflower from seed, it sometimes helps to give them a cold treatment. This can be done by planting them outdoors in the garden in the fall so the winter has a chance to do its thing. Or you can do it indoors by placing the seeds in the refrigerator.
These plants are very easy to grow. They are especially suitable for novice gardeners. So far as their care is concerned in the cutting garden, purple coneflower plants are undemanding. They tolerate drought, but for full flower production you will need to water during prolonged, dry periods. They rarely suffer from insect or disease problems.
Though this can vary from one variety to another, the purple coneflowers bloom for about six to eight weeks. These have strong, sturdy stems that usually require no wiring. When you are planning what other flowers you want to use with the purple coneflower, donít be fooled by this plantís name. In my opinion, the petals of the native species are really more of a pink rather than a true purple.