Spotlight on two coneflowers: Echinacea purpurea 'Doubledecker' and Echinacea 'Mango Meadowbrite'.

Credit: courtesy Heritage Perennials

Spotlight on two coneflowers: Echinacea purpurea ‘Doubledecker’ and Echinacea ‘Mango Meadowbrite’

Heritage Perennials grows about 1,500 varieties of plants every year so it has plenty to choose from when compiling a Top 10 list. Showcased at Canada Blooms, the list includes two coneflowers: Echinacea purpurea ‘Doubledecker’ (hardy to zone 3) and Echinacea ‘Mango Meadowbrite’ (zone 4).

‘Doubledecker’ (shown above) is a totally new twist on the traditional purple coneflower, with two-tiered blooms. Large magenta-pink daisies have a central brown cone that bears a second smaller flower immediately on top of the first. Blooming begins in midsummer and continues for weeks, especially with regular deadheading. Plant habit is like the usual Echinacea purpurea, with tall stems (around 75 cm/30 in.) and a reasonably bushy form.

Recent breeding work at the Chicago Botanic Garden produced Echinacea ‘Mango Meadowbrite.’ It bears large, single daisy blooms of a glowing neon mango-yellow shade, surrounding a golden-orange cone. Flowers are fragrant, with an overtone of sweet-spiced tea, making them particularly useful for cutting.

Consider planting ‘Mango Meadowbrite’ in the middle of a drift of airy, magenta Verbena bonariensis or with the stubby spikes of purple or white Liatris spicata. This is a good candidate for the cutting garden, tubs and mixed containers, a butterfly garden, a meadow planting or a sunny perennial border.

The other eight Top 10 plants are:

Gaillardia ‘Fanfare’ (zone 5), Helleborus x hybridus (zone 4), Hemerocallis ‘Apricot Sparkles’ (zone 2), Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ (zone 4), Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven’ (zone 3), Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ (zone 3), Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (zone 3), Tradescantia ‘Blue and Gold’ (zone 3). PHOTO courtesy Heritage Perennials