Common Name: coneflower
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Peach to rose-pink with dark orange center cone
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil
Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. This is an adaptable plant that is tolerant of drought, heat, humidity and poor soil. Divide clumps when they become overcrowded (about every 4 years). Plants rebloom well without deadheading, however prompt removal of spent flowers encourages continued bloom and improves general appearance.
Echinacea is a genus of seven species all endemic to eastern and central North America. Coneflowers bloom from June to August with some sporadic later bloom. Good fresh cut or dried flower. The dead flower stems will remain erect well into the winter, and if flower heads are not removed, the blackened cones may be visited by goldfinches or other birds that feed on the seeds.
Genus name of Echinacea comes from the Greek word echinos meaning hedgehog or sea-urchin in reference to the spiny center cone found on most flowers in the genus.
SUMMER SKY is a hybrid coneflower in the Big Sky Series from Itsaul Nurseries in Atlanta, Georgia. It is an upright, columnar, free branching perennial that typically grows in a clump to 2-3’ tall on sturdy stems that do not need staking. It is noted for its large, sweetly-fragrant, bi-colored coneflowers (to 5” diameter). Each flower features rays that are yellowish at the tip shading to salmon/peach and finally to a deep rose-pink at the bases forming a halo encircling a dark orange center cone. Flower colors are reportedly reminiscent of the pastel hues of the sky on a summer evening. Flowers bloom from late spring to later summer, sometimes with additional sporadic bloom until frost. Irregular-serrate, dark green leaves (to 5” long) are lanceolate. SUMMER SUN is reportedly the result of a 2002 cross-pollination of E. purpurea x E. paradoxa (seed parent) with an unnamed selection of E. purpurea x E. paradoxa (pollen parent). U.S. Plant Patent PP18,783 was issued May 6, 2008.
No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to aster yellows disease and eriophyid mites.
Border fronts, rock gardens or part shade areas of open woodland gardens. Best in groups or massed. Attractive specimen/accent.