Though I can't totally enjoy them like I do the flowers that bloom in the spring (its been too hot + humid, even in the shade, to sit outside the past few days), my coneflowers are stars of this time of year, and really through til October. They are amazing flowers.
|Merlot Coneflowers At Twilight (from last year)|
Some in Charleston say that echinacea purpurea is more like an annual here, but that hasn't been my experience, and I'm not sure why that would be the case? We certainly have fast draining soil!
I have three varieties in my yard. The first up and currently most bountiful is Kim's Kneehigh, which is about waist high. Seeing as I put it up front in my garden, idiotically following the plant tag, I'm probably going to have to move this at some point. The stems are a bright green and the flower petals are an almost fluorescent pink. They are highly reflexed within the first two days of opening.
|Kim's Knee High Coneflowers In Profusion Outside Now|
Coming up next for me, and showing its first several blooms are the Merlot. I have two of these, but one of them I accidently weeded the first leaves. Oops. It is definitely a noticeable setback, but it still lives! These flower petals are more of the traditional coneflower pink, but the stems are nearly black looking and the eyes are blackish too. The large flowers don't reflex all that much and remain primarily straight daisy shapes.
|First Flower Of The Season For A Merlot Varietal|
My final variety, Prairie Splendor isn't blooming yet. The leaves came out about a month later than the other two varieties, and is just now starting to bud. From memory I believe this to be the totally traditional coneflower. The nice thing about this is that it created a baby! Now the baby is right in the middle of the beebalm (haha take that beebalm, beating you at your own game!), so I'm not sure how well thats going to work, but we shall see.
|Merlot, From Last Year, Flower Faces Up Close|
Aside from human weeding damage, the only other issue I've had with them is that the slugs get them. I have a bad problem with slugs here and certain plants they love. One of the plants had a seriously slow start thanks to being mowed down by the slugs, and the others all have some tattered looking leaves to show for them. Not sure what I'm going to do about these slugs. I've killed hundreds of them and there seems to be no end in sight.
|Waaay Taller Than Knee-High (see Salvia at right for knee-high plants)|