Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Perennials
Two Bright New Echinacea
by Charlie Nardozzi
Echinacea have become the trendy flower. Every year there seems to be new varieties on the market stretching the imagination of what's possible with this hardy, native perennial. Breeders have created fragrant echinacea like Harvest Moon and double flowered versions like Razzmatazz. Some of these new versions seem very exotic, bordering on odd. However, there are two new varieties that look like the species coneflower, just with improved plant forms and flower colors. These hybrids are hardy to USDA zone 4 and grow best on well-drained soil in full sun. Try them out!
'PowWow Wild Berry' echinacea features a unique flower color, plant size, and branching habit. The plants grow only 2 feet tall -- a foot shorter than the native species. This variety also has a strong branching habit so it produces more flowers over a longer season. The deep rose-colored flowers are vibrant and clear, making a strong statement in any perennial border. 'Flame Thrower' echinacea (in photo) grows 3 feet tall and 40 inches wide. It's well branched and blooms from mid-summer until frost. The most striking feature is the flower color. The bright orange, 3- to 4-inch diameter flowers have rose- and red-colored tints at the flower bases, giving this perennial a glow when blooming.