These are tough, colorful perennials from central and eastern North America. Daisylike flowers, usually with narrow, arching rays, have brownish orange, dome-shaped centers and are held on straight stems above clumps of bristly foliage. Flowers are often lightly fragrant. Generally bloom over a long period in summer (may start in spring in mildwinter climates). Flowering may continue until frost.
Use on the outskirts of gardens or in wide borders with other robust perennials. They are also excellent in containers. Generally do not need staking. They perform well in summer heat (though not in the hottest desert areas, where they are mainly spring blooming). Good cut flowers.
Clumps spread slowly, become crowded after 3 or 4 years. Fleshy rootstocks can be difficult to separate; divide carefully, making sure each division has a shoot and roots. Plantings can also be increased by taking root cuttings, seeding, or transplanting self-sown seedlings.
Bristly, oblong, 3–4-in.-long leaves form a 2-ft. wide, dense foliage clump from which rise sparsely leafed flowering stems 3–4 ft. tall. Showy, 4-in. flowers have drooping, rosy purple rays and a central orange-brown cone that resembles a beehive. If faded flowers are left in place, bristly seed heads hang on into winter; seeds are favored by finches. Many fine varieties are available.
‘Coconut Lime’ is a double flower, with a single row of large white petals surrounding a tuft of smaller light green petals around the cone. Grows to 2–3 ft. high.
‘Doubledecker’ (‘Doppelganger’), another 2-footer, has something extra: a second set of pink petals emerging from the top of the cone.
Plant grows to 2–2 1/2 ft. tall, with sweetly scented white flowers.
Strong grower to 3–4 ft. tall, about half as wide, with deep purplish pink, orange-centered flowers up to 7 in. wide.‘Rubinstern’ (‘Ruby Star’)
Grows to 2–3 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide, with carmine-red rays that are held horizontally rather than drooping.
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