Five years ago, it would have been difficult to even consider the thought of a tomato-colored echinacea. But ‘Tomato Soup’ is red, with the sass and blossom power to make it a garden
favorite. Norris has grown it for several years and absolutely loves it. In his garden, it’s proven reliable and vigorous, and it’ll blow away your friends with its intense color.
If you have a tomato-colored coneflower, it follows that you might also need an orange one. ‘Tiki Torch’ blazes in the summer garden. It’s one of the few newer echinaceas that has returned for a second season at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Color? Pure, construction-sign orange. For another orange variety with a softer color, try ‘Evan Saul’ (distributed as ‘Sundown’). Avent says it’s been a “really good long-term performer” in his trials.
For more midsummer excitement, try ‘Mac ‘n’ Cheese’. Its sharp orange-yellow flowers—the color of a block of processed cheddar—are blatant enough to stand up to the aquamarine of a midsummer sky.
For a subtler yellow, try ‘Sunrise’. Its flowers open lemon and fade—depending on the intensity of light—to various shades of butter and cream. It combines well with many other perennials and has a record of good garden performance. “There’s really nothing else in that color range,” Avent says. He also says the plant “has really good vigor.”
Caleb Melchior studies landscape architecture at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. When not working in the studio, he writes about food and works in the garden.
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Echinacea Varieties: 19 Cutting-Edge Coneflowers