Echinacea ‘Mellow Yellows’
A new introduction by Jelitto comes this range of soft yellow Echinacea. They come in shades from a pale creamy yellow to much richer golden tones. They are all good sturdy growers which will attain 60cm in height. Colours supplied can’t be guaranteed unless buying in flowering season – please ask if you are looking for a particular shade. Do not confuse this with Echinacea paradoxa ‘Mellow Yellow’ which is a cultivar of a different species. These contain much more’ blood’ of Echinacea purpurea, the most reliable species here in Britain. (I;m going to have Donovan’s voice in my head all afternoon now!)
Echinacea are the Coneflowers from North America. The deep pink Echinacea purpurea is the most commonly encountered, but the increasing availability of several related species and extensive breeding have greatly increased the diversity available from this genus in recent years. They are easily recognised by the cone of stiff spikes in the centre of each large daisy flower. The flowers can vary from being quite flat to having heavily reflexed petals in Echinacea angustifolia. They are extensively visited by both bees and butterflies for the rich nectar they produce.
Echinacea naturally grow in dry habitats, in open woodland and on prairies. They are very hardy in respect of temperature and also tolerant of heat in summer. They thrive in full sun and will tolerate light shade and drought. Their enemy in Britain is muggy dampness and overcrowding. Think of their native habitat which tends to be dry and often windy. Plant where they will not sit wet in the winter and in a place where there is good air flow around the crown and they can prove excellent garden plants.
Back in the early 1990’s Echinacea purpurea was cross with the yellow Echinacea paradoxa to creatre Echinacea ‘Art’s Pride’. Lovely though this dazzling amber cross was, it proved a disaster in the garden, as did so many of the crosses that follows. Each one as reliably unhardy as it was lovely. Now, 20 years on, crosses such as E. ‘Tomato Soup’, E, ‘Tiki Torch’ and similar are finally bucking the trend, giving us colours right from yellow through oranges to pinks and reds on plants that are reliable in the garden. Couple this with the Prairie planting movement championed by designers such as Piet Oudolf and Echinacea is now one of the most popular of perennials.
Both Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia are used in herbal medicine.
Echinacea were originally classified in Rudbeckia
Echinacea angustifolia – black Sampson, Coneflower, Niggerhead, Brauneria pallida