Echinaceas must be the ultimate prairie perennials, with daisy-like flowers in a range of colours.
They’re easy enough to grow, too. Plant them in a south- or west-facing spot in any rich, well-drained soil for blooms that should last from mid-summer to mid-autumn. Pollinators and birds alike will benefit from the pollen, nectar and seedheads that the flowers provide.
Thanks in part to the resurgence of prairie-style planting there are new echinacea varieties being produced all the time. Try combining them with some of these top plants for a prairie border.
Echinaceas can be grown in pots and containers, too – take a look at this colourful late-summer pot for inspiration.
Check out 12 gorgeous echinaceas to try growing in your own plot, below.
Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ has rich purple-pink flowers. The large petals held on a more horizontal plane compared to the parent species, where the petals have a more swept back appearance, particularly as they mature. H x S 75cm x 45cm.
Red-centred, purple-pink blooms of echinacea ‘Magnus’
Echinacea ‘White Swan’
‘White Swan’ is a lovely cultivar with pure white petals and a golden-yellow centres. Having white blooms, it’s quite easy to combine this variety with plants of any colour. H x S 60cm x 45cm.
White petals and golden centres of echinacea ‘White Swan’ flowers
Echinacea ‘Art’s Pride’
The warm butternut tones of ‘Art’s Pride’ combined with the narrow petals make this a striking variety. To top it all, the flowers have a light fragrance. H x S 60cm x 60cm.
Narrow orange petals of echinacea ‘Art’s Pride’
Echinacea ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’
‘Sombrero Salsa Red’ is part of the ‘Sombrero’ series, all of which are compact in habit, have large flowers and broad outer petals. ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’ has rich red petals complemented by chestnut brown centres. H x S 50cm x 60cm.
Broad red petals and brown centres of echinacea ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’ blooms
Echinacea ‘Southern Belle’
‘Southern Belle’ is a double variety, with a ruffled centre and skirt-like outer ray florets. As the flowers mature, the ruffled centre gets larger and more dramatic. Makes a lovely cut flower. H x S 50cm x 50cm.
Pretty pink double flowers of echinacea ‘Southern Belle’
Echinacea ‘Golden Skipper’
‘Golden Skipper’ is a compact variety with blooms that are a rich yellow colour. This fast-grower is good if you’re looking to fill a gap in a hurry. H x S 45cm x 45cm.
Deep-yellow blooms of echinacea ‘Golden Skipper’
Echinacea ‘Milkshake’ is a gorgeous double cultivar with creamy coloured blooms. New flowers have an orange centre that fades away as the flower matures. Perfect for the middle of the border. H x S 70cm x 50cm.
Echinacea ‘Milkshake’ flowers, with small cream petals around orange centres
If you’re after a more subtle cultivar, consider ‘Sunset’. It’s part of the ‘Big Sky’ series, which consists of a series of crosses between Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea paradoxa. The flowers are an understated dusky red, which gradually fades as they mature. H x S 100cm x 60cm.
Dusky red echinacea ‘Sunset’
A double variety with eye-catching pink-orange flowers. ‘Irresistible’ is a compact variety, perfect for lacing through other plants towards the middle and front of borders. H x S 60cm x 45cm.
An orange-pink double bloom of echinacea ‘Irresistible’
Echinacea ‘Hot Lava’
‘Hot Lava’ has blazing red blooms, ideally suited to a hot border. Try combining with plants like heleniums and kniphofias, or check out our feature on plants for a hot border for more ideas. H x S 80cm x 40cm.
Bright orange-red bloom of echinacea ‘Hot Lava’
Echinacea ‘Mooodz Awake’
This pink-flowered cultivar is compact and fast-growing with bright, magenta blooms. Like most echinaceas, the flowers have sturdy stems that shouldn’t require additional support. H x S 50cm x 45cm.
Magenta-pink bloom of echinacea ‘Mooodz Awake’
Echinacea ‘Rainbow Marcella’
‘Rainbow Marcella’ echinaceas have vibrant, lava-coloured flowers that fade to a dusky raspberry as they mature. Discover more plants with orange flowers to grow. H x S 45cm x 60cm.
Orange/pink blooms of echinacea ‘Rainbow Marcella’
Pale-pink, narrow petals of Echinacea pallida
Species echinaceas to grow
Echinacea pallida – a delicate looking species with narrow, pale-pink ray florets with a swept back appearance
Echinacea paradoxa – similar to rudbeckias, with a chocolate-brown centre and bright yellow ray florets
Echinacea purpurea – the species from which most modern cultivars originate
Echinacea simulata – the glade purple coneflower has a warm brown cone surrounded by graceful, pale-pink ray florets