Ruby Star and Solar Flare Echinaceas

Ruby Star and Solar Flare Echinaceas
With so many wonderful Echinacea varieties available, it can be hard to choose. The ones presented here are top performers in the garden.

Ruby Star Echinacea
These seed grown, vigorous plants have dark colored stems. Suited to zones three through nine, Ruby Star Echinacea can reach three to four feet in height with a two foot spread.
This variety blooms from mid summer onwards. The petals are shorter than those of some echinaces. However, they remain horizontal rather than drooping. These intensely colored petals range from carmine-red to crimson rose or intense pink. The prominent cones are brown and larger than those of most purple coneflowers.

Secret Affair Echinacea

Best suited to zones four through nine, Secret Affair Echinacea is a bushy, compact plant that features strong stems. This can reach nearly two feet in height with a slightly smaller spread. The plant branches close to the base. It features deep green healthy foliage.

Secret Affair echinacea blossoms are great for cutting. The stems are medium length.

This variety begins blooming in July and extends into September. It is noted for the lovely, large, double pomp pom type blooms. The entire bloom is a combination of several colors in the petals and the cones. The petals are pale pink to mauve-rose. The double cones with crested centers range from flamingo pink to dark fuchsia.

Solar Flare Echinacea

Recommended for zones four through eight, Solar Flare Echinacea is a relatively tall variety that reaches two to three feet in height. The dark colored stems, which become reddish-black as they age, are very strong and thick.

The sweetly scented blossoms are five to six inches wide. The petals are held horizontally rather than drooping. These are dark magenta-red. The dark cones are almost brown.

Tangerine Dream Echinacea

This award winning variety does best in zones four through nine. It was named the best variety for containers during the MSU plant trials. Tangerine Dream stems are perfect for cut flowers, and have medium length stems.

Around 2½ feet in height, Tangerine Dream Echinacea has a matching spread. The wide branching plant has very sturdy, strong stems.

The showy, richly fragrant blooms are resistant to fading. These blooms are four inches across and feature wide, overlapping petals that are clear orange. These can droop just slightly.

Virgin Echinacea

Bred by Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf, this variety does well in zones three through nine. The outstanding plant has an upright growth habit and reaches 1½ to two feet in height with a foot to 1½ foot spread.

The scented blooms feature two rows of large, pure white petals that are held horizontally. The cones are greenish.

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