Coneflowers are a group of stunning wildflowers that cover the plains of the United States. Also known as Echinacea, these flowers are low-maintenance and easy to grow. Horticulturalists have even created numerous types of coneflower cultivars, mainly from the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Cultivars range from having the quintessential coneflower shuttlecock shape to double varieties with pom-pom-like central cones. This comprehensive guide will explore 30 popular Echinacea species and types.
Accepted Species of Echinacea / Coneflowers
Echinacea angustifolia – Narrow-leaf coneflower
Also known as the black samson echinacea, the narrow-leaf coneflower is an early-season coneflower species. Echinacea angustifolia begins flowering in late spring and continues until mid-summer. This species is native to central areas of Canada and the United States. These coneflowers produce purple or pink flowers that surround an orange central cone.
Echinacea atrorubens – Topeka purple coneflower
Echinacea atrorubens has a relatively limited native range and grows in eastern parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The Topeka purple coneflower also has a relatively short flowering season for a coneflower. The purple blooms appear in late spring and finish in early summer. Occasionally, this species may produce pink or white flowers.
Echinacea laevigata – Smooth purple coneflower
Echinacea laevigata is one of the rarest coneflower species and is listed as a Federally Endangered plant. The smooth purple coneflower grows on the Piedmont plateau in the eastern United States. What’s more, Echinacea laevigata blooms from May until July and has dark purple central cones surrounded by long pink or purple petals.
Echinacea pallida – Pale purple coneflower
Echinacea pallida – the pale purple coneflower – inhabits the central prairie regions of the United States. This range extends from southern parts of Wisconsin to eastern parts of Texas and also includes the Mississippi Valley. In addition, Echinacea pallida have pale purple or white blooms that flower between May and July and produce white nectar.
Echinacea paradoxa – Yellow coneflower
Echinacea paradoxa is a unique species of coneflower that dazzles with its bright yellow flower heads. Yellow coneflowers grow in a small range of the central United States that includes parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Echinacea paradoxa has a long flowering season from early summer through into early fall.
Interestingly, the color of the flowers varies depending on the plant’s location. Yellow coneflowers growing in Arkansas and Missouri produce yellow flowers, while specimens in Oklahoma and Texas have pink or white flowers.
Echinacea purpurea – Purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea is the most widespread species of coneflower and forms the basis for most coneflower cultivars developed by horticulturalists. Purple coneflowers are found throughout the central and southeastern United States and can grow up to 4 feet tall. Also known as the hedgehog coneflower, Echinacea purpurea produces purple flowers with reddish-brown cones that flower from summer until fall.
Echinacea sanguinea – Sanguine purple coneflower
Echinacea sanguinea – the sanguine purple coneflower – is named for the reddish tinge of its purple petals. The flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer and have purple cones that turn green closer to the center. This coneflower occupies southern and southeastern parts of Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, along with southwestern areas of Arkansas.
Echinacea serotina – Narrow-leaved purple coneflower
Echinacea serotina is sometimes omitted as a recognized coneflower variety because of its similarities with Echinacea angustifolia. However, Echinacea serotina has a more extended flowering season running from late summer to early fall. The purple flowers of Echinacea serotina have a similar appearance to Echinacea purpurea, but the foliage usually has stiffer hairs.
Echinacea simulata – Wavyleaf purple coneflower
Echinacea simulata grows in a small range that covers central and eastern states such as Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, and Tennessee. These types of coneflowers have purple-pink flowers with long, drooping petals and a reddish-purple central cone. Although it appears very similar to Echinacea pallida, Echinacea simulata produces yellow pollen rather than white pollen.
Echinacea tennesseensis – Tennessee coneflower
Echinacea tennesseensis is a rare coneflower variety that grows in Tennessee’s central cedar glades. Although this species is no longer considered Federally Endangered, it’s still at risk. Echinacea tennesseensis is the official state wildflower of Tennessee.
Tennessee coneflowers produce purple or pink petals that don’t droop as much as other coneflower varieties. This species has brown central cones and flowers from June to August. Specimens of Echinacea tennesseensis can grow up to 2.5 feet tall.
30 Popular Types of Echinacea / Coneflowers
1) Echinacea purpurea ‘Balsomsed/Sombrero Salsa Red’
The dramatic Echinacea purpurea ‘Balsomsed/Sombrero Salsa Red’ cultivar has rich red flowers and dark brown cones. The cone and petals combine to form sombrero-shaped flower heads that flower between late spring and late summer. ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’ grows up to 2 feet tall and prefers climate in Zones 3 to 8.
2) Echinacea purpurea ‘Bravado’
Echinacea purpurea ‘Bravado’ looks very similar to a standard Echinacea purpurea. However, this cultivar produces large pink or purple flowers that can be up to 5 inches wide. These coneflowers have central orange cones and can easily reach heights of up to 4 feet high.
Like many Echinacea cultivars, ‘Bravado’ blooms from June until August. This cultivar grows best in Zones 3 to 8 and can tolerate full sun or partial afternoon shade.
3) Echinacea ‘Sunrise’
Echinacea ‘Sunrise’ is a hybrid cultivar made by combining Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) with Echinacea paradoxa (yellow coneflower). This variety has pungent lemon-yellow flowers and green-gold central cones that flower from summer until fall. It’s part of the renowned ‘Big Sky’ Series of Echinacea cultivars.
Echinacea ‘Sunrise’ prefers Zones 4 to 9 and can grow in full sun or partial shade in the afternoon. Specimens can grow up to 3 feet tall.
4) Echinacea ‘Postman’
Echinacea ‘Postman’ is one of the cultivars from the ‘Butterfly’ Series that originated in the Netherlands. This cultivar blooms from late June to mid-July and produces dark brown central cones. The flowers are yellow when they first emerge and gradually turn an intense red before fading to pink towards the end of the season. These plants do best in full sun in Zones 5 to 9.
5) Echinacea purpurea ‘Butterfly Kisses’
Echinacea purpurea ‘Butterfly Kisses’ is a wonderfully scented coneflower cultivar from the beautiful ‘Cone-fections’ Series. Originating in the Netherlands, this cultivar produces light pink double flowers with a dark pink pom-pom-like central cone. ‘Butterfly Kisses’ flowers between June and August and prefers Zones 3 to 8.
‘Butterfly Kisses’ thrives in full sun or partial shade in the afternoon. It’s a relatively compact variety and grows to an ultimate height of 1.5 feet.
6) Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’
Part of the eponymous ‘PowWow’ Series, Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ is a prolific coneflower cultivar. It produces a bounty of pink or purple flower heads with orange-brown central cones between June and August. ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ performs best in slightly cooler climates in Zones 3 to 8.
Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ grows up to 3 feet tall and forms a clump of blooms. It requires full sun or partial afternoon shade.
7) Echinacea ‘Milkshake’
Another stunning variety in the ‘Cone-fections’ Series is Echinacea ‘Milkshake’. This cultivar delights with its double flowers, golden-yellow central pom-pom-like cones, and creamy-white petals. It’s an excellent variety for cut flowers as the blooms tend not to fade as they age.
Echinacea ‘Milkshake’ usually flowers from June to August but can continue into fall in some cases. This cultivar thrives in Zones 4 to 9 and grows up to 3 feet tall.
8) Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’
Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’ wows with its vast 5-inch wide blooms that appear from June to August. Each flower has fiery red petals that gradually fade to orange and surround the reddish-brown central cones. ‘Tomato Soup’ produces its most vibrant colors when placed in full sun and does best in Zones 3 to 8.
9) Echinacea ‘Fiery Meadow Mama’
One of the most striking coneflower cultivars in the ‘Meadow Mama’ Series is Echinacea ‘Fiery Meadow Mama’. This cultivar produces breathtaking flowers with petals that transition from yellow tips to fiery red. The central cone is dark red, and the flowers are in season from June to August. ‘Fiery Meadow Mama’ is suitable for Zones 5 to 9 and needs full sun to bring out the full color of the petals.
10) Echinacea ‘Daydream’
Echinacea ‘Daydream’ is one of the earliest coneflower cultivars to bloom and enjoys a long flowering season. The large yellow flowers and central orange cones emerge in May and then keep flowering for about five months. ‘Daydream’ is a pretty compact variety and rarely exceeds 2 feet tall.
‘Daydream’ performs well in Zones 4 to 9 and needs full sun, preferably in the morning. It’s a brilliant variety to grow for cut flowers.
11) Echinacea ‘Harvest Moon’
Echinacea ‘Harvest Moon’ comes from the Dutch ‘Big Sky’ Series that creates hybrids by mixing Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea pallida. ‘Harvest Moon’ produces bright yellow flowers with orange-brown cones. Each flower head can be up to 4 inches wide.
This cultivar’s beautiful sunny flowers produce a lovely scent and flower throughout the summer. ‘Harvest Moon’ can handle hot, humid climates with full sun or partial shade and prefers Zones 4 to 8.
12) Echinacea purpurea ‘Fragrant Angel’
One of the most popular Echinacea purpurea cultivars is ‘Fragrant Angel’, which belongs to the ‘Prairie Pillar’ Series. ‘Fragrant Angel’ has beautifully scented white flowers with central orange cones and flat horizontal petals. Its flowering season runs throughout the majority of the summer months.
Echinacea purpurea ‘Fragrant Angel’ is suitable for gardens in Zones 3 to 9. These gorgeous coneflowers can reach up to 4 feet tall and do their best in full sun or partial shade.
13) Echinacea ‘Kismet Intense Orange’
Echinacea ‘Kismet Intense Orange’ generates a large number of vibrant orange flower heads with dark brown cones. This member of the ‘Kismet’ Series can be enjoyed for a long flowering season. ‘Intense Orange’ can produce flowers from summer until the first frost in the fall.
‘Intense Orange’ performs well in Zones 4 to 9, and giving the plant full sun will enrich the color of the flowers. This cultivar can grow in clumps up to 2 feet tall.
14) Mexican hat coneflower
Also known as the upright prairie coneflower, Ratibida columnifera – the Mexican hat coneflower – is native to North America. Ratibida columnifera has tall, dark brown central flower cones and a combination of red and yellow patterns on its petals.
Mexican hat coneflowers grow best in Zones 4 to 9 and like to bask in full sun. The flowering season extends from June to September. These plants can grow up to 3 feet tall.
15) Echinacea purpurea ‘Primadonna Deep Rose’
Echinacea purpurea ‘Primadonna Deep Rose’ produces big, beautiful pink blooms with orange-brown central cones. Each flower head can be as wide as 6-inches, and the petals may either be horizontal or drooping. These flowers emerge in late spring and continue flowering until late summer.
‘Primadonna Deep Rose’ can grow up to 3 feet tall and prefers conditions in Zones 3 to 8. These coneflowers are happy in both full sun and partial afternoon shade.
16) Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Jewel’
Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Jewel’ is one of the few green coneflower varieties. ‘Green Jewel’ dazzles with its dark green central cones and large bright green petals. Flower heads can grow nearly 5-inches wide, providing plenty of impact in your garden.
Gardeners in Zones 3 to 8 have the best conditions for ‘Green Jewel’. This variety starts flowering in late spring and finishes in late summer. Either full sun or partial shade works best for these coneflowers.
17) Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’
Few other coneflower cultivars can match Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’ for sheer visual impact. This variety is part of the ‘Cone-fections’ Series and produces dark orange double flowers. The orange pom-pom-like central florets are surrounded by drooping dark orange petals.
‘Hot Papaya’ has a slightly shorter flowering season which runs from early to mid-summer. Zones 4 to 9 and full sun or partial shade are best for this cultivar.
18) Echinacea purpurea ‘Greenline’
Another stunning green coneflower variety is Echinacea purpurea ‘Greenline’. This is another variety with double flowers and pom-pom-like central cones. The cones are pure lime green, while the small petals are greenish-white.
The ‘Greenline’ flowering season runs between June and August, and this cultivar prefers Zones 3 to 8. ‘Greenline’ specimens can grow up to 2 feet tall and need either full sun or partial afternoon shade.
19) Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’
Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ has all the elegance of its namesake thanks to its lovely white blooms and yellow central cones. This medium-sized Echinacea variety grows between 2 and 3 feet tall. ‘White Swan’ produces its flowers between June and August.
‘White Swan’ should be placed in full sun or partial afternoon shade. It’s well-suited for gardens in Zones 3 to 8.
20) Echinacea ‘Sombrero Adobe Orange’
Echinacea ‘Sombrero Adobe Orange’ are also known as ‘Balsomador’ and come from the ‘Sombrero’ Series. These cheerful coneflowers have orange-brown cones and bright orange flowers that can be up to 3 inches wide. ‘Sombrero Adobe Orange’ flowers throughout summer and autumn. ‘Sombrero Adobe Orange’ thrives in Zones 4 to 9 when given full sun or partial afternoon shade.
21) Echinacea purpurea ‘Avalanche’
Another stunning white variety of coneflower is the Echinacea purpurea ‘Avalanche’, which is part of the ‘Butterfly’ Series. The petals are pure white while the central flower cones are a greenish-yellow. ‘Avalanche’ is a fantastic variety for attracting pollinators and blooms from June to August.
Echinacea purpurea ‘Avalanche’ best suits gardens in Zones 3 to 8. It’s a fairly small variety and only grows up to 1.5 feet tall. ‘Avalanche’ needs either full sun or partial afternoon shade.
22) Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Envy’
Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Envy’ has incredible two-tone petals with light green tips that turn pink towards the center. The stems can grow up to 3 feet tall and produce flowers between June and August. ‘Green Envy’ thrives in full sun and prefers warm areas in Zones 4 to 9. This is another variety that is great for cut flowers.
23) Echinacea ‘Secret Passion’
Echinacea ‘Secret Passion’ is a dramatic coneflower cultivar from the ‘Secret’ Series. It’s another double variety, with rich pink pom-pom-like central cones and light pink petals underneath. These visually stunning blooms make fantastic cut flowers due to their fade-resistant breeding.
‘Secret Passion’ flowers from mid-summer until the first frosts of fall. It can handle conditions in Zones 4 to 10 and needs full sun. Specimens can grow up to 3 feet tall.
24) Echinacea ‘Hot Summer’
Echinacea ‘Hot Summer’ is a bright, vibrant coneflower variety that grows up to 3 feet tall. Petals are orange when they first emerge before gradually turning red during the season. The petals radiate from orange-brown central cones.
The flower heads have a pleasant scent and bloom from June until August. ‘Hot Summer’ needs either full morning sun or partial afternoon shade. It’s best suited for climates in Zones 3 to 8.
25) Echinacea purpurea ‘Razzmatazz’
Among the many Echinacea purpurea cultivars, ‘Razzmatazz’ certainly stands out. The pink-purple double flowers have reddish-pink pom-pom-like central cones with rose pink petals. The flowers emerge in mid-summer and continue into the fall.
Echinacea purpurea ‘Razzmatazz’ is ideal for gardens in Zones 3 to 8 and can grow as high as 2.5 feet. To get the best color, provide full sun or partial shade in the afternoon.
26) Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus Superior’
Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus Superior’ has some serious heritage – it’s derived from ‘Magnus’, an award-winning coneflower cultivar first produced in 1985. ‘Magnus Superior’ is its spiritual successor and grows between 3 and 4 feet tall. These types of coneflower thrive best in Zones 3 to 8 and need full sun or partial shade.
What’s more, ‘Magnus Superior’ produces enormous flower heads that can be as wide as 7 inches. Rich purple-pink horizontal petals radiate out from orange-brown central cones, giving this cultivar a distinctively regal appearance.
27) Echinacea ‘Leilani’
Echinacea ‘Leilani’ is a gorgeous cultivar in the prestigious ‘Prairie Pillars’ Series from Terra Nova Nurseries in Oregon. The large bright yellow flowers with bronze-green cones emerge in July and can keep flowering into October. ‘Leilani’ plants can grow up to 3.5 feet tall.
Echinacea ‘Leilani’ is best suited to Zones 4 to 9. These incredible Echinacea plants need full sun or partial shade in the afternoon. It’s a low-maintenance cultivar that doesn’t require staking despite its height.
28) Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’
Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ is the perfect cultivar for gardeners who love coneflowers but can’t choose which color to plant. ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ can produce flowers in several shades from orange, pink, purple, and red to cream, white, or yellow. This variety has been specifically bred to flower in its first year.
‘Cheyenne Spirit’ thrives in Zones 4 to 9 and forms dazzling clumps of flower heads that reach up to 2.5 feet tall. The blooms run from June to August and make excellent cut flowers. ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ needs full sun or partial shade.
29) Echinacea ‘Mango Meadowbrite’
Echinacea ‘Mango Meadowbrite’ was first produced in 2004 and helps bring bright, cheerful vibes to any garden. The orange central cones are surrounded by yellow to orange horizontal petals. The flowering season starts in mid-summer and continues into the middle of fall.
‘Mango Meadowbrite’ flower heads also produce a sweet scent similar to honeysuckle or orange. This variety can grow up to 3 feet tall and grows well in Zones 4 to 9. It needs full sun to bring out its intense colors.
30) Echinacea purpurea ‘Pica Bella’
Echinacea purpurea ‘Pica Bella’ is a charming, compact variety with deep pink petals radiating out from orange-brown central cones. These plants form colorful clumps that can reach up to 2 or 3 feet tall. ‘Pica Bella’ is in flower between June and September, providing a long flowering season.
This variety thrives in Zones 3 to 8 and requires full sun or partial shade during the afternoon. The stems are relatively stout and won’t need staking.
Essential Coneflower Growing Tips
Coneflowers are easy-to-grow perennials that require very little maintenance or effort. Most Echinacea varieties are great for beginners. Coneflowers are drought-tolerant and grow happily in loose, nutrient-deficient soils.
You can also transplant coneflowers and divide if you’re looking to expand your collection or relocate to a more suitable location.
Echinacea plants grow best in full sun, although in hotter regions, they should be protected from intense afternoon light. Coneflowers require six to eight hours of direct sun every day and are best exposed in the morning. Most varieties do best when given partial shade during the afternoon.
Coneflowers are used to growing on open prairies, so they have evolved to be drought-tolerant. Established coneflower plants will rarely need watering unless the weather is exceptionally dry. Water coneflowers once a week for seedlings or young plants in their first year until they become established.
Echinacea plants can survive and thrive even if their soil lacks nutrients. Coneflowers rarely need fertilizing if you top them up with fresh compost in the spring. Echinacea plants prefer loose, well-draining soils that aren’t too rich in nutrients. You’ll also need to watch out for any common coneflower pests and diseases.
Coneflowers rarely need much maintenance beyond deadheading coneflowers during the blooming season. Once a flower head begins to wilt, remove it to encourage other buds on the plant to bloom. After the coneflower has completely finished flowering, cut it right back to the soil before winter sets in.
Types of Coneflowers FAQs:
What are the different colors of coneflowers?
Accepted coneflower species have purple, pink, or yellow flowers. An array of cultivars have also been created that have orange, red, white, and even green flowers.
What is the difference between a coneflower and Echinacea?
Do you deadhead coneflowers?
Deadheading coneflowers is the best way to prolong the flowering season. Once a flower head begins to wilt, remove it to allow fresh flower heads to emerge.
How many years do coneflowers last?
Individual coneflower plants typically last between 2 and 4 years. Dividing older plants into clumps can help prolong this lifespan.
Should I cut back coneflowers for winter?
To protect coneflowers during the winter, cut them back once all the flowers have finished. Leave a few inches of growth to form the foundation for prolific new stems the following spring.
The Final Word
The Echinacea genus contains a vast variety of species and cultivars, so there’s bound to be one that suits your garden. Most cultivars bred by horticulturalists are derived from Echinacea purpurea – the purple coneflower – which is the most common species. All coneflower types are straightforward to care for and provide a beautiful display of flowers throughout summer and fall.