Echinacea Sombrero™ Sandy Yellow

Sombrero Sandy Yellow    Perennial of the Month-- June 2013 Perry caricature

(eh-kin-aa' cee-ah)  (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name:  Coneflower

Family:  Asteraceae, Aster/Composite/Daisy

Height x width: 2ft x one foot

Growth rate, habit: moderate, compact upright; no lateral branches, flower stems grow from the base

Foliage: lance-shaped (lanceolate) to narrow egg-shaped (ovate), 4-6in. long, coarse with stiff hairs, serrate edges, alternate, simple, often clasp the stem

Flowers:  light creamy yellow, flowers much of summer, each flower lasts about 3 weeks; conical, upward-facing, terminal on stems; about 10-12 flowers per plant, up to 3-in. wide

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-8 

Soil:  well-drained average best, tolerates some drought once established as well as poor soils (clay, rocky)

Light:  full sun best, tolerates (less bloom) part shade or requires it in hot climates (west) for best color

Pests and problems:  none significant, young plants may be browsed by deer or rabbits

Landscape habit, uses:  borders, meadows, native gardens, wildlife (birds) gardens, cut or dried flower; combines well with other coneflower cultivars, Shasta daisy, Rudbeckia, daylily, Russian sage, gaillardia, coreopsis, among low sedum or taller dark-leaved cultivars, ornamental grasses

Other interest: botanically patented as cultivar Balsomselo, US PP23,104, a Darwin perennials introduction (IL, 2008), being a hybrid of proprietary patented parents; more compact than many coneflowers and than its parents; similar to 'Matthew Saul' (aka Harvest Moon) only with larger ray florets, different flower color, and wider central disc; seedpods provide winter interest and seeds for birds (particularly goldfinches); genus name from prickly lower stem resembling a hedgehog (Latin echinos); genus is popular for medicinal use from vitamin C supplement to colds to other attributed uses

Other culture:  divide clumps if overcrowded in 4 years or so, deadhead to improve appearance but not necessary culturally

Propagation:  commercially by licensed propagators

Sources:  many online and local specialty nurseries, wholesale from Darwin perennials

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