I have always liked cone flowers because they have large, showy blooms. The light purple color is pretty and the flower attracts butterflies and birds - always a plus in my book. Being a native perennial, Echinacea is extremely hardy in zone 5. It is also drought-tolerant. The blooms last a long time and the coned centers are unique on each bloom making this plant all the more interesting.
Naturally, when I learned Burpee was offering an orange Echinacea, I bit, I bought. I received a live plant that produced two blooms (more salmon than orange imo). Not bad for the first year. However, the second year, I dug it up and moved it closer to the purple variety. Results in year two, one bloom.
A friend clued me in to a great place to buy inexpensive perennials this past spring. I bit, I bought.....six white Echinacea. I'm keeping my fingers crossed hoping the whites take hold. She explained to me why my orange Echinacea wasn't as productive as my many purple plants. It's too technical for me to recall here. Suffice it to say it involves roots and grafting.
My sister, who color-coordinates her zone 5 gardens in purple and orange, also noted the orange Echinacea she bought from a local nursery failed to thrive. It's looking like this specimen, while stunning in glossy catalogs, probably isn't going to rival the purple any time soon.