Echinaceas - perfect landing platforms

Flat-topped flowers such as echinaceas, make perfect landing sites for butterflies and bees and will also add structure to the late summer garden. These stiff-stemmed flowers with burnished golden middles, go with so many plants and they can either be seed-raised in spring, or planted in potfuls now. The pinks and whites make excellent partners for Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ and the short variety, ‘Kim’s Knee High’, is the perfect match as far as height goes. ‘Magnus’ is a taller, seed-raised variety but stable enough to produce strong pink flowers. ‘Vintage Wine’ (selected by Piet Oudolf) has an enormous central disk surrounded by bright-pink short petals. Leave them to fade into winter and they are perfectly hardy, being plants of the North American prairie. Echinaceas need winter cold and they resent mild British winters, which can kill them. If you have had trouble with pot-grown plants you’ll find that seed-raised plants, from seeds sown in the spring, can be easier to establish. New breeding has produced a range of echinaceas in tomato-red, peach and pumpkin orange and they include ‘Hot Summer’ and ‘Tiki Torch’. There are also fuzzy doubles, but doubles are not insect friendly.


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