plant quick find clear
This North American native is loved by both people and pollinators. Its colorful blooms last summer to fall and make these plants look great in so many settings! Purple coneflowers have grown in popularity, which has led to more options; from bright single flowers to double blooms, you’d be hard-pressed to not find a coneflower to your liking. Every garden needs at least one coneflower!
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1 to 3 feet
1-2 feet wide
garden plans for Coneflower
What began as a simple purple blossom has grown into a multitude of choices. Coneflowers now come in a large variety of colors, including pink, white, orange, yellow, green—almost any color you can imagine, except blue! Not only have the color options expanded, but there are many forms of blooms available as well. Whether it's the traditional shuttlecock-type or fancy double blooms with layers of petals, there's bound to be something that catches your eye.
Coneflower Care Must-Knows
This garden staple serves as a natural cold remedy Purple coneflower has long been sought for its cold-fighting properties, especially in teas. All parts of the plant are proven to have immune-boosting effects, along with a number of other beneficial attributes.
Purple coneflowers are native to grass prairies so need well-drained soils. These are tough and rugged plants used to competition from neighboring plants. Purple coneflower won't tolerate anything less than full sun. If they are planted in too much shade, plants tend to get floppy and are more susceptible to foliar diseases such as powdery mildew. Coneflowers will also attract birds and other wildlife to your garden.
Once plants have finished blooming, pinch off spent blooms to encourage a second round of flowers. As fall sets in, leave a few blossoms on the plant, because these make great food for small birds. Goldfinches love sitting atop spent blooms and picking away at the tasty seeds. If left on the plant, coneflowers may reseed. Just know that any seedlings will be different from the parent, especially in the fancier varieties.
An issue to be addressed with coneflowers—and other plants in aster family—is aster yellows. Aster yellows is a plant virus carried by thrips, which feed on pollen and carry the virus plant to plant. Symptoms are most visible on new buds and open flowers show erratic, contorted growth. If you see this on your plant, there is no cure except to dig up the plant and properly dispose of it before the disease spreads.
There have been many exciting innovations in the world of purple coneflowers. Breeders in the late 90s and early 2000s began crossing the yellow species, Echinacea paradoxa, with the common purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea.
This resulted in colors never before seen in coneflowers. From there, breeding has expanded the realm of coneflowers to include different flower forms and more colors than previously thought possible. Breeders have even begun making crosses between coneflowers and black-eyed Susans to create a cross called Echibeckia.
Some of the recent innovations include shorter, more durable plants—especially ones that easily and uniformly grow from seed. This has helped make a more consistent production of coneflower. Because there are more varieties that bloom during the first year from seed, there's no need to overwinter plants.