09 August 2010

Having the Hots for Hot Papaya...

Since I first saw photos of 'Hot Papaya' Echinacea about 18 months ago, I have coveted this plant with possibly even more enthusiasm than I have for blue poppies, 'Green Envy' echinacea, and purple hydrangeas. It's no secret to regular readers that I am totally besotted with coneflowers of all colours, but this one just rang my bells. I love orange flowers...love echinaceas...love the double cones...it was obviously a match made in gardening heaven. (Click for larger collages).
The really fun thing about this particular coneflower is the way it changes colour pretty much daily. This collage shows its changes from the the day I first started tracking its opening flowers--or extending flowers, because they're rather cool the way they develop--about a week ago, until today. This is all one flower, until the photo where you see two of them in the bottom right-hand corner. They're a bit magical. They change from sort of muddy greenish orange to a sunny golden-orange to a deeper orange with tinges of pink...and they just keep changing and getting more splendid.

I have many other coneflowers, all coming into bloom, although there are still half a dozen that haven't yet gone beyond the green button stage. The gold/yellow ones that I have, the all-red 'Tomato Soup', the new 'Firebird', and the always later-blooming 'Green Envy' are still preparing to do their thing in earnest. But for now, I'm just going to crow gleefully over the beauty of 'Hot Papaya'. Here's hoping it is as sturdy as some of the other fancy-coloured jewels in my collection.

And since I know there are more varieties to come...I guess I'd better extend the bed that I have most of them in. Because we all KNOW I will need the newer ones, too. They're my only bad habit. Well, and books. And cats.

32 comments:

  1. I have many different shades of pink and this year I added one orange coneflower. But I do like the looks of 'Hot Papaya'. I will certainly be looking for it next year, even this fall. Happy Gardening:)

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  2. I grew a few of these for the first time this year and they really are stunning. Unfortunately the blooms didn't last as long as many other echinacea blooms. But they are worth it nonetheless. I do hope they prove to be significantly hardier than many of the other "new" varieties of echinacea, which have, by and large, been pretty disappointing on that front (in zone 5 at least).

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  3. Erin, I am also in zone 5, and the only ones I've had any real problem with in the past are the 'Meadowbrite' series, which I think resented my wet winters with their freeze/thaw cycles. I have about 20+ varieties here along with the standard purple coneflowers in several variations. When they're all in bloom I'll do a report card, but I've had no problem with Pink Double Delite, Green Envy, Jade, Sundown, Coconut Lime or Tiki Torch coming back. Some of them are a little slow to get going but I (gasp) cut off the flowers when I plant them and that seems to help them settle in and develop some good crown growth.

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  4. I love 'Hot Papaya', jodi. I too have a passion for Echinacea but have had little luck the past 3 years with many of the new varieties that don't like me as much as I like them :( Good luck! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for me too.

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  5. Oooh, I love love love the colors. It's a pretty unique Echinacea!

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  6. As far as bad habits go, collecting coneflowers is not a bad one to have!

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  7. I am so envious of your luck with the fancy shmancy Echinaceas, Jodi! We saw Hot Papaya in Buffalo and fawned over it something fierce. Yes, extend you bed, then take tons of photos! :-)
    Frances

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  8. I haven't had a lot of luck with fancy Echinaceas. This one looks like it is worth the trial.

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  9. Thank you, Frances...that was all the encouragement I needed. Bwah hah hah! Out to edge the garden/take back more of the lawn...
    Lisa, I hear similar comments from other people too. I promise a post on echinaceas in general soon, but my next column in the paper is on them so I don't want to revisit that ground right away.

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  10. Well they don't work for me, but I am glad you're having fun with them!

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  11. I've got this one, too, Jodi, and it might possibly be my favorite coneflower of all. I posted a couple of photos of it on FB, in its different stages of color and it's unbelievable that it could be the same plant, but like you, I love watching it change daily.

    The final color is fabulous. I'm not a fan of some oranges, but this reddish-orange is GREAT! And like most "frilly" coneflowers, the blooms last forever!

    Yep - a winner here, for sure! Great photos, by the way, too!

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  12. I'm not usually a fan of the big fluffy looking coneflowers but Papaya is pretty neat! You can't go wrong with a coneflower. Unfortunately most of mine are being devoured by the Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly Larvae.

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  13. Oh man that is one beautiful plant. Last year I bought 'Coconut Lime' and it looks like I killed it before I planted it (dried out) or it didn't survive the winter.

    Maybe I'll try to replace it with one of these.

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  14. I just love love love coneflowers...pretty much all of them. Mine started blooming in April, and have bloomed continuously since then looking like they have no plans for stopping. Ever.

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  15. Jodi girl I have to say my favorite (when I could be in the garden .. it has been almost 2 weeks that I haven't been able .. aarrgghh !!)
    In any case (sorry frustration had to vent ?) I LOVE Flame Thrower, it is remarkable .. I thought Tiki Torch would be the "ONE" but Flame Thrower has done it for me this season .. now I'm already thinking NEXT season? LOL
    Is there a club for echinacea addicts I wonder / can we get help with this ?? ;-)
    Joy

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  16. Great. Now I'm coveting it! What a beautiful colouring! I must find it!

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  17. I LOVE the joyous colors and I know that the butterflies love them too.

    Thanks dear Jodi,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

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  18. Jodi, your photos are lovely but... and I almost hate to confess it here... I think I am some kind of a weirdo because I am starting to get sick of all the variations on echinacea the plant breeders are coming up with.

    At first I thought, okay, cool, or oh, that's interesting, or even very pretty, but now I'm reverting to a feeling that the only good coneflower is a traditional-looking one. It's not like I prefer to be a conservative on any issue, in the garden or out. I really wonder what is happening to me and my taste. Maybe variation overload?

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  19. Hi Jodi,
    When I first looked at your collages and saw you had only said one plant name, I was confused, until I read what you wrote. What fun, to have a flower that changes colors! It sure is a beauty!

    My Kim's Knee High and Harvest Moon coneflowers did well for a couple years, but this year, they aren't doing well. The Kim's has misshaped blooms, and the Harvest Moon only had a few blooms. I'll see how they do next year before removing them.

    I have one that had been 'White Swan' a number of years ago, but turned back into being purple planted in the same bed. There are a bunch of baby plants, so I'm curious to see what they look like when they bloom. One actually did this year, right between the Kim's Knee High and the purple one, and it looks pretty much like the purple one.

    Well, have fun extending that bed!

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  20. Mr Brown Thumb, i have Coconut Lime and it's doing fine in its second year. Slow to get going but getting ready to put up a lot of flowers beside the first couple it has now.
    Joy, there is no help for us. We just gotta grow them. Hope you are able to work in the garden soon.
    Meredith, no, you're not a weirdo. It could be, as you say, variation overload. I get overwhelmed by hostas and heucheras because there are just so many and I can't see the differences between many of them. But coneflowers are one of my favourites whether they are traditional purple, pink, white, green...double, single, dwarf or 4 foot tall. It's just each to their own. I don't need similarly-coloured ones; I won't get 'Now Cheesier', which is a more-yellow Mac n Cheese (I think that's what the new one is called) because I have three different yellows now. But there's a double yellow out that might tempt me next year...
    Sue, I wonder if you have Aster Yellows in your coneflowers? They have that susceptibility, and I don't know yet if a particular variety has more susceptibility (the way some phloxes and monardas are with mildew). I diagnosed a case in a friend's garden last week. It can present differently in different plants. As for the change of colour, quite often the hybrids produce seedlings that are pink or purple rather than the hybrid colour. Maybe that happened with your White Swan and the parent plant died. I do know that not all cultivars are suited to all locations. We can't grow the Meadowbrites here at all, but most of the Big Sky series seem to do fine.

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  21. Thanks for your information, Jodi. When I first noticed the blooms being kind of fuzzy, I remembered reading something about a disease like the aster yellows. I looked online, and didn't see anything that looked like mine. Now that I read what you said about it looking different on different plants, I think I should get the 'Kim's Knee High' pulled. I am sad, because I don't like doing that, but if it's not going to get better, I need to think about my other plants.

    As for the white coneflower turning purple, I didn't think the original plant died, but it could have.

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  22. Jodi...that's a beauty and I love how you shared the photos of it changing! I have not noticed this variety in the local nurseries but will look more carefully now. My dry spot does well with coneflowers.

    As an aside...saw Royal Purple hydrangea today (in bloom and stunning) on Hammonds Plains Road, ...Nursery called Blooms I think. So if you are still looking for one, they had two.

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  23. Coneflowers, Books and Cats, Hum, you could have worse habits and these I dont consider bad at all. Love the way that flower changes colors as time goes by...

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  24. I bet the bees and butterflies are crazy over your coneflowers! This orange one has to be one of their favorites. It is very interesting. I have only the basic purple coneflower, but I think I may branch out. Some of the new varieties are really beautiful.

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  25. What a great colour!!
    For the bees and butterflies I have to get 'Hot Papaya' Echinacea/
    Looking for a reason to purchase another plant:)
    - Cheers Gisela.

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  26. If I liked orange, I'd have this one in a heartbeat. It's a beauty, and coming from me (the hater of all things orange) that's saying something.

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  27. Yes they are trully wonderful and beautiful but we don't have them here!

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  28. Yes, and orange flowers that bloom in mid summer....sigh..

    Jen

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  29. Hi, I really like the colour of that Echinacea. Surprising, as I prefer 'purpurea' over most other colours available. Like your blog, too!

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  30. They are indeed gorgeous, Jodi! I'm still fondest of the traditional pink coneflowers, but I might have to find a place in my garden for this orange beauty.

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  31. Wonderful post. I haven't been that crazy about the pink puffballs that Echinacea breeders have been making, but as they get more orangy (Tomato Soup and Hot Papaya)I'm liking them more. And I didn't realize that Hot Papaya changed tones that much...it's new this year for me....so I appreciate the heads up.

    ProfessorRoush (www.kansasgardenmusings.blogspot.com)

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  32. Hi Jodi,

    I shall refer to your post when I next need to select a coneflower in a garden design. Brilliant, thank you very much for all that information. Kind Regards, Tim

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