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I have a large established bed of purple cone flowers. I recently purchased some red and some white cone flowers also. I was told that these colors come from hybrid plants, so my question is: Will they cross polinate or will they retain their true colors? Anyone have any experience with this?
Enuf
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Enuf) expounded:

They'll cross, and the results won't be as vigorous, but you could get some interesting combos! But I'll bet the purples will win out in the end.
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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(Enuf) expounded:

I've yet to see a white variety of the coneflower that floats my boat. They tend to be a muddy, tannish white, rather than a clear bright white. I agree with the poster who suggests a shasta daisy or some other white daisy if you want that color in a particular area of the garden. However, if you're growing them particularly for the shape of the flower and using it in arrangements or something, I guess that's different.
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I agree, Pallida is very....insipid, I guess. And not very vigorous, at least for me.
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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Ann wrote:

White purple coneflower isn't E. pallida. It is several different cultivated varieties of E. purpurea, namely 'Alba' and 'White Swan' (and a few other less common varieties). The 'pale' in pale purple coneflower refers to the pollen color, which usually appears white, as opposed to other species of Echinacea which have yellow pollen. Ligule color has NO bearing on the differentiation between E. purpurea and E. pallida. In fact, many species of Echinacea, including E. purpurea and E. pallida, have a ligule color which varies along a north-south cline, with more darkly colored ligules in northern populations, giving way to nearly white ligules in more southerly populations. Even pollen color is not always sufficient to identify E. pallida in the wild, as there is some intergradation with E. sanguinea and E. simulata. As far as differentiating E. purpurea from E. pallida though, the plants look very much different, with E. pallida having more lanceolate leaves and a taproot, as well as other distinguishing characters. E. purpurea is the only species of Echinacea with a fibrous root system. Ligule color is only useful for differentiating E. paradoxa from other species, because it has bright yellow ligules while all other species of Echinacea have purple/magenta/pink ligules.
As far as the lack of vigor in the albino cultivars, I totally agree. In my experience, they grow slower, are less resistant to pests, and they really aren't white. The OP mentioned that they were doing a red/white/blue thing, using E. purpurea 'Ruby Star' and 'White Swan' for the red and white. They will come to find that their red/white/blue motif is actually a magenta/piss-yellow/blue motif.
Micah Mabelitini
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That's debatable. It's the white echinacea I grew. I didn't like it. I do know the difference :o)
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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Ann wrote:

What was the cultivar name?
Micah Mabelitini
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E. pallida is white, but it's not E.purpurea 'White Swan' or 'Alba.' It's not even the same plant! The pallida is sort of rangy, but like I said, it looked much better this year with neglect.
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E.pallida is the spp.
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Yea, I know, that's the white one I grew.
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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Actually, mine was really sucking for the past few years, then I moved it into a dirt dry, horribly infertile spot and it did great. It's interesting how certain plants really do thrive on neglect. I'm slowly learning how to neglect! I will have to say that in all the years I've been gardening, this year was my best, or should I say, most appreciated by me. I always see flaws. This year, I was truly happy. Of course tomorrow I will go out and move things around and I have about 15 shrubs and three trees to plant. I have no idea where I'm going to put a burr oak, but I got a 10 gallon tree, which was at least 12 feet tall for 16 dollars at Walmart. THAT, I could not pass on.
V
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I think that was the biggest problem with mine, it just didn't like the rich soil. Purpurea seems to love it, I've got babies all over the place!
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Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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Yes, babies abound. I've not had the pallida re-seed. I try, but no cigar. A new problem I have is that I put out a million wildflower seeds and for those areas I can't use mulch till the plants come up. The larkspur, bluebonnets and allysum are up, but the poppies, calendula and cosmos won't be up till spring. I suppose I can use a light mulching.
I also had some time a week or so ago, digging out every piece of Nandina domestica. That was a two day job for 6 plants. They've been replaced by dwarf yaupon hollies.
V
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Did you get rid of it because you prefer native plants, or some other reason? How big do they grow in your warm climate?
Janet (just planted one)
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opined:

They are an invasive plant, here in Texas. The N.domestica (aka heavenly bamboo) spreads by underground runners. They are noxious to the point they are finally on a "don't plant" list, put out by our agricultural agents. One plant can become 10 feet tall and as wide, but not from one base, they spread and go deep. I have six plants and in the four years after the builder put them in, they had to be cut back at least 25 times and covered a border in the front of my house about 30 feet wide...and running.
There are other nandina's which will do well here and not invade. 'Nana' is one which has beautiful color and stays evergreen. Just the N.domestica is the one.
Also, yes, I am trying to remove all non-native species and replace with natives. Slowly, I'm getting there.
Victoria
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Good for you Victoria - I have only a corner of my yard which has native species - having a hard time letting go of my faves in favor of all native yard. Not many flower varieties in my neck of the woods. Tina
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Where are you? I am sure I can come up with any number of species of flowering forbes and woody plants. There are countless numbers.
V
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My 'White Swan' are a clear, bright white.
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animaux wrote:

Do you live in the deep south or southwest? I would expect the albinos to appear more white in hotter climates. Also, 'White Swan' tends to be more white than 'Alba' and some of the others.
Micah Mabelitini
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(Enuf) expounded:

any
They
agree
if you

I'd agree with Vic - my 'White Swan' is a true bright white, bloomed all summer and is quite vigorous. And I certainly do not live in a hot climate. Personally, I find the purple and pink forms rather insipid - very washed out in tone.
pam - gardengal
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