The Echinacea is a genus from the sunflower or aster family (Asteraceae) and is commonly named coneflower. The coneflower is native to eastern and central North America. They are growing there in habitats from prairies to open woodland and savannas, often on dry, rocky or sandy soils.
The inflorescence looks like one flower but it is actually a cluster of many small flowers. The heart of the inflorescence consists of tubular florets (disc florets) and the surrounding, strap-like petals are ray florets.
The genus name Echinacea comes from the Greek word echinos which means hedgehog, referring to the spiny bracts that grow from the disc florets in the heart of the inflorescence.
The flowers attract mostly bees and some butterflies. The Echinacea cannot self-pollinate and therefore needs insects to transfer pollen between plants in order to develop seeds.
Deadheading is not necessary but results in some reblooming. If you leave the seed heads on the plant it will reseed and provide food for various birds.
The coneflower prefers a sunny spot with well-drained, neutral, not too rich soil. Too much moist in the winter can be fatal. The Echinacea is tolerant to drought, salt and heat.
The new hybrids are the result of crosses among three species: Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower), Echinacea paradoxa (yellow coneflower) and Echinacea angustifolia (narrow-leaved purple coneflower).
Most coneflower species have taproots that make them well adapted to drought. The Echinacea purpurea has a fibrous root system and is consequently better suited for average garden soil. The Echinacea purpurea is more tolerant to moist and shade than the other species of coneflowers.
The Echinacea ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’ has a sturdy and compact habit, is well branched and produces numerous flowers like all members of the Sombrero series. The flowers start orange and mature to a warm shade of red.
Attracts bees: yes
Characteristic: newly emerging every year
Deer resistant: yes
Flower color: orange
Flowering time: July - September
Foliage color: green
Fragrant flower: yes
Hardiness: -22 ºF (-30 ºC)
Height: 20 inches (50 cm)