Coneflowers are colorful perennial wildflowers that look fantastic in summer and fall. Although there are only a few natural coneflower colors, several vibrant cultivars are available too. Some may even change color for different reasons. In this article, we’ll find out why coneflowers change color.
What Colors Do Coneflowers Come in?
Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) naturally come in various shades of purple. The purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is the most well-known. Coneflowers also come in pale purple or reddish-purple. One species of coneflower – the yellow coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa) – has yellow flowers.
Cultivated coneflower varieties also come in several different colors. These colors include green, orange, pink, red, and white. Some of the best-known coneflower cultivars include Echinacea ‘Flamethrower’, Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’, and Echinacea ‘Alba’.
When Are Coneflowers in Bloom?
Coneflowers are perennials that live for at least three years. Coneflowers usually don’t flower in their first year. Instead, they focus on developing plenty of foliage and a good root system or a deep taproot.
Once they reach their second year, coneflowers begin to bloom. Coneflowers bloom from mid-July until October and flower for approximately six to eight weeks. Deadheading spent flowers throughout the season encourages a second flush of blooms.
Once the first fall frost arrives, coneflowers die back to their roots. The energy stored in the roots sustains the coneflower during the winter before it reemerges the following spring.
Can Coneflowers Change Color?
Coneflowers can change color for a couple of reasons. The ten recognized species of coneflowers usually won’t change color that much. However, the exact shade of their flowers may vary slightly as they age. Not every coneflower species will do this.
Cultivated coneflower varieties are more likely to change color. These cultivars are bred from a recognized coneflower species, usually the purple coneflower.
Sometimes, the flowers of these coneflowers may revert to the purple color of their parent species. It may take a few years for coneflowers to change color. But eventually, the genetics of their parent species can take over.
You may even experience two different colors on the same plant. Some flowers may retain whatever color the cultivar is supposed to be, while other flowers may revert to purple. This is more common in hybrid coneflower varieties.
Coneflower cultivars can also change color as they age. Usually, the flowers will change to a lighter shade. So if you have a red coneflower, the flowers may fade to orange or even yellow over time.
These flowers can also change color due to cross-pollination. If you have a few different varieties of coneflower, they may take on each other’s colors. This occurs when pollinating insects transfer pollen between the different coneflower varieties in your garden.
Coneflowers come in several gorgeous colors, like purple, yellow, orange, pink, and red. Coneflowers can change color as they age. Over time, cultivated or hybrid coneflowers may revert to the color of their parent species. Cross-pollination of different coneflower varieties may also cause the flowers to change color.
For more, see our in-depth guide on how to grow coneflowers in your garden.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.
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