Coneflower, Two Ways

Coneflower, two ways. The one on the right is the native; the one on the left is a cultivar. In general, natives are going to be better for the birds and pollinators, because when you breed for other flower structures (doubled blooms, for example), often you make the seeds / pollen / etc. harder to get to.

But those of us who garden for beauty have a hard time resisting the glorious variations. One compromise approach is to plant 4-5 of the natives for every 1 of a cultivar; the cultivars become the specimen gems of your garden, and the natives a pleasing setting, leading to a garden full of life.

Natives are also generally more hardy, drought-tolerant, disease-resistant (thousands of years of evolution versus a few generations of careful breeding), so when your delicate hybrid may falter, the natives go marching steadily on…

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