October 5, 2010

The Many Faces of Pink Double Delight Coneflower



Some people don't like double flowered plants, but I'm a fan. When it came to selecting a coneflower (Echinacea) for my front yard, I felt that the single types with their brown center cones were not in keeping with the look I'm trying to create. Don't get me wrong, coneflowers look fabulous in prairie style gardens. But I'm not making a prairie here.



I looked at Pink Double Delight (PDD) coneflower for months - years even - before buying any. Part of the delay was the cost of this new and popular hybrid - how could I buy enough to make an impact without spending hundreds of dollars?



I decided to buy several small pots of PDD and divide them up into even smaller clumps as I planted them this spring. I ended up with nine plants, and I fertilized to make them grow faster. I think the fertilizer might have made some of the stems floppy, so I'm not going to do that again next year.



Floppy stems is a problem with some coneflowers. With a mature height of just 16 inches, PDD is supposed to be compact and sturdy. If you plant them in full sun with good drainage and don't give them much nitrogen, I think PDD will be fine, as most of mine were.



Part of the fun of PDD is how the flowers change as they mature. At first they look like daisies, then they fluff up and start to look like cushion mums. Unfortunately, because they have petals in the center instead of stamens with pollen, the bees don't visit these flowers. But I've planted enough catmint nearby to keep the bees busy.



I was worried about how the vivid mauve-pink flowers of PDD would blend with other colors in my front gardens. But I've come to love the combination of cool lavender and warm rosy-peach with the true pink of PDD.



Of course a nice feature of PDD and all coneflowers is their tolerance of intense sun, heat, and drought (once established). Another perk is their bloom time, which starts just as the roses have taken a break - but well before chrysanthemums start blooming - and continues until frost. The picture above shows the fall flush of blooms on the rose behind PDD.



I noticed that the White Flower Farm catalog recommends that this coneflower be planted in the spring unless you live in zone 6 or warmer. I'm planning to transplant some of these coneflowers to make more room for the oh-so-vigorous clumps of catmint nearby, and it's hard to wait until spring instead of just getting it done now. But since I live in zone 5, I'll try to be wise and wait.



Actually, I have PLENTY of work to do already this fall. With just 125 bulbs planted, I still have 405 sitting here waiting to plant. How did I end up with so many?! My back is getting sore just thinking about it. Thank goodness only 40 of the ones to be planted are tulips, which have to go deep. All the others can be planted more shallowly and so will take less work.



But back to Pink Double Delight coneflower. If you can afford the price (or if you find a good sale) and have a sunny, hot, well-drained area, I'd give this plant two thumbs up. Just be skimpy with the fertilizer, and you should be very pleased with these sturdy plants.

12 comments:

  1. Good morning. Your Pink Delight or RazzaMatazz Echinacea is so pretty. I just love them. It is so wonderful that your are still in bloom. I am excited about a new Pink Poodle coneflower that I have saw around. Well new to me at least. I have it on my never ending list of plants. LOL!

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  2. Love these pink coneflowers. I'll put them on my list to look for. And to answer your question... yes! and I was quite certain you are too as I saw the gorgeous light in your eyes.

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  3. I love coneflowers and those are really pretty.
    I like 'green envy' and ordered a couple last spring through the mail. It turned out to be more pink than green.:/
    You have been busy planting bulbs! Wow...that will be quite a payoff in the spring.

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  4. These are a very pretty coneflower. I too would not have fertilized them, but at least they got off to a good start. Wonder if they will seed all over the garden.

    I ordered bulbs which will be coming in this week. I have no energy to plant them though. I called to reduce my order down from 400 to 150 bulbs. I always have more enthusiasm early in the year, then when it is time to plant, it peters out. Good to see you are better than me at this.

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  5. Hi VW~~ I've tried both 'Double Delight' and 'Razzmatazz' to no avail. They looked great the first year but quickly succumbed to winter-kill. I think it must be too much water since it is cold tolerant. Anyway, your photos look great. Good luck with your bulb planting. Next spring, ooh, la, la!! I look forward to the photos.

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  6. wow what beautiful cone flowers and i have never seen doubles. This is my first year trying from from seed.

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  7. 530 bulbs!!!!!!!!- now that is true energy and dedication. My bulbs thank goodness seem to have naturalized and come back themselves each year. Gorgeous coneflowers.

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  8. Do you have one of those wide "bulb drill bits?" Now, I think that might be the way to go!! :-) Your coneflowers are beautiful. Great photos. We'll look forward to your Spring Show!!

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  9. I love that Coneflower. I kept thinking of a quote from Napolean Dynamite...

    " I want that." I am undeniably envious of this pink beauty!

    I am not envious of you planting all those bulbs though. It makes my knees and back ache just to think of it. Have fun and I can't wait to see your bulbs in the spring when you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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  10. Coneflowers have never appealed to me, and I usually object to double-flowered plants. But I like this one! Thanks for the intro.

    Cannot wait to see the fruits of your bulb-planting labors. You have the hort degree, so I hesitate to offer advice, but I will: trenches. It's still a lot of digging...

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  11. Sorry to have repeated so much of what Rosey said :-( Not quite awake.

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  12. I'm not usually a fan of the doubles but this one looks fantastic! Have fun planting all those bulbs-I'm curious as to what you'll be planting? My bulbs come this week but no where near the amount you have to plant. I went with some more minor bulbs this year.

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