Green Jewel EchinaceaEchinacea purpurea ‘Green Jewel' (PP# 18,678)
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Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Jewel' (PP# 18,678)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Green Jewel Coneflower is a vigorous perennial plant that dies down each winter and bounces back the next spring. It grows a little more than 2 feet tall, with many self-supporting flower stems, each carrying several blooms. The 5-inch flowers are sweetly fragrant, with jade-green petals standing out horizontally, and a flattened central cone of dark green. Easy to grow, it will brighten your flower beds and add a sophisticated touch, calming and blending the other colors of your plants. It is perfect everywhere from formal beds to cottage gardens and rough ground. The flowers are visited by bees and butterflies, and if you leave the cones standing for winter the seeds will attract goldfinches and other seed-eating birds.
Grow the Green Jewel Coneflower in full sun, or in partial shade in the hottest zones. It is resistant to both cold and heat, growing everywhere, and it thrives in all well-drained soils, be they rich garden beds or undeveloped rough ground and grassy areas. It just takes one annual cutdown, in fall or early spring, to keep it perfect, and it needs no staking. Pests, diseases and deer are almost never problems.
The tale of Cinderella – of the ordinary becoming outstanding – is an enduring favorite. We can see that tale repeated in the transformation of our native coneflower, with its light-purple blooms and drooping petals, into the sophisticated beauty of the Green Jewel Coneflower. Every rising star would be happy to have a jewel of jade like this one. The huge, 5-inch, fragrant flowers are gorgeous shades of soft jade green, and the petals stand out horizontal like a collar around the crown of the deep-green cone. That doesn’t mean this child of the prairies has gone all soft and difficult – no, this variety is just as tough as the original, thriving in all gardens and even on waste ground, pushing up its flower stems each summer, and feeding the goldfinches in winter with its cones of seeds. As lovely in a vase in the house as it is in the garden, it’s the perfect touch of class to lift your garden beds into an excellence that will have the ugly step-sisters fuming. And don’t worry, it won’t turn back into the common variety at the stroke of midnight.
The Green Jewel Coneflower sprouts up each spring from a tough root, and dies down again each winter. This perennial plant begins the year with a mound of long, oval to arrow-head shaped leaves that are dark-green, with a rough texture from the short hairs that cover them. By summer many tall flower stems rise to 2 feet, branching out into several flower heads. These hold themselves up proudly, needing no staking or support, and never flopping. Each bloom is large, between 4 and 5 inches across, with many petals surrounding a large central flattened cone. The petals begin pointing upwards, and then as they mature they open to a horizontal position, but they never droop like the wild coneflower does, and the flower stands proud, facing upwards. The slender petals have a distinctive notch at their end, and they are a beautiful soft jade green color, turning a little more yellow when the bloom matures completely. The central cone is dark green, decorated with a circle of golden-orange pollen, which moves inwards as the tiny, petalless flowers open in the cone. The flowers have a soft, sweet perfume. In late summer and into the fall the flower matures, dropping its petals and leaving that large seed-filled cone as winter food for seed-eating birds like goldfinches. When in bloom the flowers are popular with bees and butterflies.
Grow the Green Jewel Coneflower out in your garden beds, wherever you want a touch of sophistication. It makes the colors of the plants around it look terrific, no matter what they are, and it’s great for breaking up color clashes that might have accidentally been grown. Use it in formal beds, cottage gardens, wild gardens and xeric gardens too. Use it with other sun-loving plants like Agastache, Asclepias, and ornamental grasses to recreate a ‘garden prairie’, or brighten existing areas of rough grass. This beautiful flower is also perfect to grow in a row for vases in your house and for flower arranging.
A variety of the native purple coneflower, the Green Jewel Coneflower is just as tough, thriving even in zone 3 and all across the country into zone 8 and most zone 9 areas.
Although full sun is best for the Green Jewel Coneflower, it will take a little partial shade too, especially in hot zones, where it may even be the best location. It grows in just about any kind of soil, from regular garden beds to rough ground and poor soils, but they do need to be well-drained. Young plants should be regularly watered, but after that they are very drought resistant.
The only maintenance needed is to cut down the dead flower stems. Do this in fall or in spring, as you decide. That’s it – no staking or tying needed. Pests and diseases are very rare, and deer leave it alone
Coneflowers are called Echinacea, meaning ‘spiny one’, because the cone looks like a sea urchin. There are just 10 species, mostly similar-looking, which grow only in eastern and northern North America. The most widely grown, and probably the most common in nature, is the purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. It grows all the way from southern Canada through Ohio and Michigan all the way south to Georgia and Louisiana. It has been grown in gardens in America and in Europe ever since it was discovered by the first plant explorers. It is a vital member of the complex prairie ecosystem, found in grasslands and open woods.
The variety called ‘Green Jewel’ was discovered in the Netherlands, by Piet Oudolf. This very famous garden designer revolutionized the use of perennials in the last decades of the 20th century, with his garden in Hummelo, Holland. His nursery, and his plant breeding business Future Plants, created many important new perennials. In 2004 he grew a batch of seedlings from seed collected from purple coneflower varieties in his garden, and in 2005 discovered one unique plant with jade-green flowers. This plant was patented in 2008 here in America, and it is also protected in Canada and the European Union.
Any plant that has the stamp of Piet Oudolf is going to be good, and the Green Jewel Coneflower is more than that – it’s great. Unlike other coneflowers grown from seed, this variety must be reproduced by division, making each plant genetically identical to that one, original seedling. This means supplies are always scarce, and we have just a few plants on offer. Order now – they will all be gone very soon.