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. Also excellent in containers. Generally do not need staking. 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.
Complex crosses have produced hybrid coneflowers that are popular for their vigor and extended color range. ‘Green Envy’ has fragrant, lime green blooms that pick up magenta-purple near the cone as they age. The green cone also fades to purple. It grows 2–3 ft. high. ‘Mango Meadowbrite’ grows 2–3 ft. high and wide; orange-yellow petals surround orange-brown centers. ‘Orange Meadowbrite’ (‘Art’s Pride’) grows about the same size, bears reddish orange flowers. ‘Pixie Meadowbrite’ grows only about 1 1/2 ft. tall and a bit wider, with pink, nondrooping petals surrounding a yellow-brown center. ‘Tomato Soup’ has bright red flowers up to 6 in. wide on 2-ft.-high plants.‘Tiki Torch’ has bright orange to rose blooms on a 2–2 1/2-ft.-tall plant. Plants in the Big sky series grow 2–3 ft. high and 2 ft. wide; choices include butter yellow ‘Sunrise’, bright orange ‘Sunset’, and reddishorange ‘Sundown’ (‘Evan Saul’).
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Graceful, open tree with stronglyweeping branches, deeply cutleaves. Sunburns in hot, dryweather.
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