Echinacea is a Native American genus that has won its way into gardens around the world. The Cheyenne called it "mohk ta" and used it for sore mouth and gums. The Crow called it "Like Comb" and used it for colds, toothache and colic. Today most Americans know it as Purple Coneflower.

Echinacea has also become a household word because of its medicinal qualities. The roots, leaves, flowers and seeds of E. angustifolia, E. pallada and E. purpurea are most commonly used in the herbal trade for their immune supporting qualities. Generally roots can be harvested when they are 2-3 years old. The pollen and seeds are also extremely beneficial for bees, and the seeds are food for the birds.

Coneflowers prefer full sun, average to lean soil and regular water for the first year. They are quite drought tolerant once established. These beauties to bloom in June through September. You can deadhead the first bloom for a smaller second bloom. They are fantastic cut flowers and they attract butterflies. Echinacea combine beautifully with Agastache, grasses, Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker), and Perovskia (Russian Sage).

Butterflies love Echinacea

Classically, Echinacea come in pale pink, dark pink and white. Within the last few decades breeders have hybridized Echinacea into a wonderful array of colors, sizes and fragrances. Now you can find coneflowers in practically every shade of the rainbow: pinks, reds, oranges, yellows and even green. With all the new varieties out there it can be tough to figure out which one will thrive in your garden. Generally our soils in the Portland area are heavy clay, and drainage is mediocre. Echinacea varieties with thinner, heavily veined leaves, such as 'Tiki Torch' or 'Flame Thrower' are usually more sensitive to drainage.

New introductions continue to bring us more petal and cone colors, sturdier growth habits and fluffy double blooms. Whether you choose a fancy cultivar or one of the good old fashioned ones, Echinacea is sure to bring you gardening joy. They are great cut flowers and the seed heads are gorgeous in the fall and winter when kissed by the frost. They are fun to combine with ornamental grasses, sedums and Rudbeckia. You can even eat the new leaves in salads to give it a zing that will truly make you tongue tingle.

Here are a few varieties that are more available at Portland Nursery. Since there are now so many varieties available, we often do not have them all at the same time.

Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'

Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'

Propagated by seed, hence flowers are various of shades red, orange and yellow.

Plant multiples to get the best spectrum of color.

Stronger than tissue culture varieties.

Grows 24-30" tall 18-24"wide.

Zones 4-10.

Echinacea 'Green Jewel'

Echinacea 'Green Jewel'

Eye-catching pale green petals surround a darker green cone

Fragrant blooms June to October

Grows 20-24" tall by 12-18" wide.

Zones 3-9.

Echinacea 'Hot Papaya'

Echinacea 'Hot Papaya'

Gorgeous double blooms in burnt orange June to October

Part of the Cone-fections series bred for stocky plants and sturdy stems.

Grows 2-4' tall by 18-24" wide.

Requires sharp drainage.

Zones 4-9.

Echinacea 'Sombrero'

Echinacea 'Sombrero' Series

A popular and reliable series introduced in 2013

Compact, well branched plants growing 18-24" tall and wide.

Flowers in shades of red, coral, orange, yellow and the best red June to October

Hardy in zones 4-9.

Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'

Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'

A tried and true variety with rosey pink, horizontal petals.

Grows 28-40" tall by 18" wide.

1998 Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year.

This variety may reseed under the right conditions.

Zones 3-9.

Echinacea 'Pica Bella'

Echinacea purpurea 'Pica Bella'

Unusual thin, curved pink petals

Grows 2-3' tall and wide.

Zones 4-9.

Echinacea 'Green Jewel'

Echinacea purpurea 'PowWow' series

A compact, flower-iferous series growing 16-20" tall by 16" wide.

Blooms of white or rich pink June-October

Great in containers or the front of a boarder.

Zones 4-9.

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (in a flowerbed)

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan'

One of the older white flowered varieties reaching 2-3' tall by 12-24" wide

Honey-scented blooms June-October.

Zones 3-9.

Find the Best Perennials for your Garden

We have a wonderful selection of perennials year round, but if you are looking for a specific perennial we will have the best selection when it is in bloom around town. Note: Native plant pages will take you into the Native Plant section.


Lewisia: Bitterroot