Here’s another fantastic new double white coneflower. This one surprised even me. At first glance, I was not a fan, but having grown it in my garden, I now think this could be the best double white selections for the mid-border. Another piece of brilliant breeding, I present Echinacea ‘Milkshake’, from Arie Blom of AB-Cultivars. Milkshake is “regular” sized. It’s not tall, it’s not dwarf, it’s just the right size for all you coneflower traditionalists out there.
The trait that surprised me the most about Milkshake is that the blooms DO NOT age. Seriously…I’ve never seen anything like it. It started blooming in June and I thought , it’s a taller, poor man’s ‘Coconut Lime’, but then all of the heavy, seriously double, white pompom blooms opened fully and there they sat, perfectly white and untouched through June, through July through August and even September. They show no signs of browning or petal discoloration. It’s as if they are fake flowers. This would be a fantastic cut flower because it would last in a vase for 8 weeks. Imagine that!
Size: 30-36” tall by 24-36” wide
USDA hardiness Zones: 5(4) – 9
Sun/shade: Full sun.
Soil: Average garden soil, well drained.
Moisture: moist, but well drained to get established, once established, it is very drought tolerant.
Disease and Pests: None known.
Landscape use: Mixed border, foundation plantings, mass plantings, urban gardens, cutting gardens.
Market appeal / Uniqueness: This could be the best double white echinacea for the
mid-border. Milkshake is “regular” sized. It’s not tall, it’s not dwarf, it’s just the right size for all
you coneflower traditionalists out there. Blooms are held high on strong, sturdy stems and they
do not age until fall. It’s as if they are fake flowers.
Propagation methods: Tissue culture, divisions.
Date of introduction to market: June, 2009
Bloom time: Late June for 14 to 16 weeks.
The plant is also very sturdy and strong. Each mature plant holds 40-50 blooms (the same ones since early June…) high with great confidence and no sign of flopping. The blooms are the size of Coconut Lime’s , but they are almost true white, with a hint of say, french vanilla milkshake-y-ness. The ray petals are long and drooping and the cone has white to creamy white, double flowers covering the entire surface.
These two photos are by Richard Hawke from The Plant Evaluation Program of the Chicago Botanic Garden.