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New, Colorful Coneflowers!

New hybrids with brighter colors and unique flower shapes are drawing a lot of attention.

New, Colorful Coneflowers!
Colorful coneflowers (shown from top left and clockwise): 'Cheyenne Spirit', 'PowWow Wild Berry', 'Tomato Soup' and 'Southern Belle.'
Purple coneflower has been a favorite flower here for decades. Its pale purple blooms are a magnificent site from summer to frost. Even in winter, the seed heads of coneflowers add beauty and attract lively birds to the frozen landscape.

Purple coneflower will always be a mainstay in Dakota gardens, but new hybrids with brighter colors and unique flower shapes are drawing a lot of attention.

I remember walking into a garden center a few years ago and seeing a stunning red flower. A red coneflower? Yes, and it had a fun name: ‘Tomato Soup’ (bottom right photo).

Now there are coneflowers named after cheddar cheese, cantaloupes, cranberries, vanilla milkshakes, hot papayas, wild berries and mandarin oranges—an amazing smorgasbord of colors to feast upon!

Several new varieties deserve special attention. ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ has won awards for its warm blend of colors and its stocky, wind-resistant plants (top left). Flowers come in shades of a prairie sunset: orange, gold, scarlet, cream and magenta. You can grow these from seed, making them very affordable. Sow in January and they will bloom in June and for many years thereafter. Plant them in mass to make a massive statement.

‘PowWow Wild Berry’ is another award winner that can be started from seed (top right). Its basal branching habit leads to an abundance of blooms and a brilliant display. The petals show a rich purplish-rose color.

Lastly, check out the new pompom hybrids. ‘Southern Belle’ has pale pink petals topped by intense magenta-pink cones (bottom left). This and other “coneless” coneflowers are absolutely fascinating. Their blooms make eye-catching bouquets, too.

Written by , Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report for September 22, 2017

Photos were made available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographers: Ball Horticultural Company, Walters Gardens, Inc. and Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

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