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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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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