Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
A number of the echinaceas are award winning varieties. These make great cut flowers. You won’t go wrong if you choose these for cut flowers and for your cutting garden. The following varieties are highly recommended.
This was one of the best performing plants at the University of Guelph plant trials in Canada. The plants reach about three feet in height. Hardy to zone four, these are noted for their scented, pinkish-purple blooms that are shaped much like pom poms. This is considered to be the first completely double echinacea. Instead of the usual cone in the middle, this contains only petals.
Echinacea Hot Papaya
This was one of the best performing plants at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Hot Papaya is a hybrid. Hardy to zone four, this is nearly three feet tall. These are about the darkest orange that you’ll find in the echinaceas. The blooms are very unusual for they lack the usual dark brown or black cone in the center. Instead, the center is crowded with tiny petals. Some of the inner petals can have slight touches of yellow. The outer petals hang downward to form a pom pom. The blooms have a light fragrance, and open from mid to late summer.
As a cut flower these stems last particularly long, for about two weeks.
Echinacea Warm Color Shades
This variety was a top performer at the University of Guelph trial gardens in Canada. Generally as a group, all of the echinaceas are best sellers, which was the case in New England. They’re among the top five perennials for most areas of the country.
This was one of the top performers, and very popular at the University of Georgia trial gardens in Athens. Firebird plants are upright with tall stems. The lovely, bicolor blossoms are 3½ inches across. The petals are red with tinges of yellow on the tips. The blossoms are shaped like shuttlecocks, and have large, colorful, orangish-brown, prominent cones. This variety was introduced in 2010.
Echinacea Green Jewel
This was among the top performers and one of the most popular plants at the University of Georgia trial gardens in Athens. Hardy to zone four, Green Jewel is over 1½ feet in height. The upright plants have particularly strong stems that don’t fall over during heavy storms. The blossoms can begin opening as early as June and continue for several months. These have pure green petals surrounding a prominent green cone.