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Charlie Nardozzi

Professional Gardening Expert

Best Echinacea Flowers & Best Purple Flowers

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Over the past ten years, no other perennial flower has gone through such a popular transformation as this Midwestern native wildflower. What first began as a beautiful perennial only found in wildflower mixes has now become a widely popular standard in many perennial gardens. Its popularity in the perennial flower world was heightened when it became widely used as a medical remedy as well. Now many millions of people take Echinacea extracts for colds and the flu.

The purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is the most common species of Echinacea available. However, there are many other species that feature other flower colors such as white or yellow. Recently breeders have begun creating Echinacea hybrids that feature more vivid colors than the original species (such as red, pink, green, and orange), different flower forms, and fragrant flowers as well. Coneflowers actually get their name from the spiny “cone” in the center of the flower. Now you can purchase varieties with double flowers and even flowers stacked on top of each other.

Despite all these external variations, deep down, Echinacea is still a tough perennial flower that is widely adapted to growing in many regions of the country. It’s hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9. Most varieties grow three to four feet tall and flower from midsummer until fall. They are relatively pest free and the flowers are great for cutting. Although widely adapted to growing in a variety of soil types, they perform best in well-drained sandy-loam soil. Echinacea flower best in full sun, but can take some afternoon shade and still be prolific. The 2- to 4-inch wide flowers come in a range of colors mentioned. They can flower for up to three months, especially if deadheaded. Even after the flower petals have dropped, the cone is an attractive addition to the garden and a favorite of birds. Small birds, such as finches, will eat the tiny seeds in the cone as it matures in fall.

The plants have deep tap roots so are drought tolerant. It’s the taproot that is often used in making cold tinctures. However, they don’t transplant easily, so be sure you like where you plant them since they will be hard to move later.

The most popular species are the common coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), yellow coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa), pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida) and the narrow leaf coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia). I’ll be focusing mostly in the hybrids of the purple coneflower in this article.

Best of the Best:

Many of these new hybrid Echinaceas are the result of crosses between species. In general, a cross is not as vigorous, and sometimes not as hardy as the original species. However, the new characteristics are highly desirable. I think you’ll like these.

Find the best echinacea flowers to create a beautiful garden to look at and harvest. The best purple flowers, these coneflower recommendations include a myriad of styles that you'll love to plant.

Best Echinacea (Coneflowers) by Charlie Nardozzi

The Best You Can Get

  • Fragrant Angel

    Charlie says: This “Echinacea purpurea” hybrid features large (five inches in diameter) white petal flowers around an orange cone. The huge flowers give ‘Fragrant Angel’ a daisy-like appearance. It’s one of the best white Echinaceas available. It has sturdy stems and a good fragrance.

    • White petals with an orange cone
    • 30 to 36 inches tall
    • Fragrant
    • Hardy in USDA zone 3 to 9
  • Harvest Moon

    Charlie says: This Echinacea is one of the selections from the Big Sky series. Others in this series feature rose, pink, and red colored flowers. ‘Harvest Moon’ is noted for its bright golden petals and heavy branching plant.

    • Gold-orange petals, russet orange cone
    • 24 to 30 inches tall
    • Fragrant
    • Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8
  • Pixie Meadowbrite

    Charlie says: This selection is part of the Meadowbrite series from the Chicago Botanic Garden. This is one of the best dwarf Echinacea available. It’s a cross between three different Echinacea species and features a short plant and small flowers with a mild fragrance. It’s great planted in containers and in the front of a short perennial border.

    • Pink petals, dark orange cone
    • 15 to 20 inches tall
    • Small flowers and plant
    • Hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9
  • Ruby Giant

    Charlie says: This selection of the purple coneflower is known for its large, seven-inch diameter flowers. Even though the flowers are big, the stems are strong and sturdy so the blossoms stay upright and are great for cutting.

    • Dark ruby pink petals, orange-brown cones
    • 24 to 30 inches tall
    • Fragrant
    • Hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8
  • Sundown

    Charlie says: This vivid orange colored Echinacea is another in the Big Sky series. It features not only a strong petal color, but also six-inch diameter blooms with a honey scent. The large plant and blooms make this a great choice for the back of a perennial border.

    • Orange petals and cone
    • 32 to 36 inches tall
    • Strong honey fragrance
    • Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8

You will be happy with any of these

  • Coconut Lime

    Charlie says: This unusual Echinacea features a flower with a frilly lime-green center and an orange eye surrounded by ivory-white, daisy-type petals. The large, pom-pom shaped flowers are striking in the garden or used as cut flowers. The plant is heat, humidity, and mildew resistant.

    • Lime green with an orange cone and a ring of white petals
    • 24 to 30 inches tall
    • Unique double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9
  • Echinacea Purpurea

    Charlie says: This is the native wildflower where all the breeding began. This tough plant is still a good one for the garden. It flowers in midsummer and continues into fall. It can readily self-sow, so often you’ll have baby coneflowers in your garden the next summer.

    • Rose-pink petals and orange-brown cone
    • 30 to 48 inches tall
    • Petals droop downward
    • Hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9
  • Green Envy

    Charlie says: This coneflower hails from the Netherlands. It features unique lime-green petals in early summer that, as they age, turn light pink. It contrasts well with the dark cone. The four-inch diameter, short, green petals make for a subtler, less bold statement compared to other, newer Echinacea selections.

    • Lime green petals fading to pink with brown cone with green center
    • 30 to 36 inches tall
    • Unique flower petal color
    • Hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9
  • Pink Double Delight

    Charlie says: Another Netherlands selection, ‘Pink Double Delight’ features a unique double flower. The well-branched, compact plant produces flowers with frilly deep pink centers and a ring of lighter pink petals. Blooms for up to three months. Adapted to heat and humidity.

    • Deep rose-pink petals and orange cones
    • 20 to 24 inches tall
    • Unique double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9
  • Orange Meadowbrite

    Charlie says: This variety developed at the Chicago Botanic Garden was the first Echinacea to feature a unique deep orange petal color. This cross between E. purpurea and E. paradoxa is lightly fragrant and has thin, orange, ray-like petals coming off its dark brown cone.

    • Orange petals and dark brown cone
    • 24 to 36 inches tall
    • Sweet orange tea fragrance
    • Hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8

Related Articles

The best echinacea flowers come in a variety of colors but all of them are a tough perennial flower that is widely adapted to growing in many regions. These best purple flowers and other colors develop deep tap roots that are drought tolerant. Always the best price, these purple coneflower flowers and other colors will enliven your garden.