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Echinacea purpurea

Common Name(s):
Purple Coneflower
Herbs, Native Plants, Perennials, Wildflowers

Echinacea purpurea, commonly called purple coneflower, is a coarse, rough-hairy, herbaceous perennial that is native to moist prairies, meadows and open woods of the central to southeastern United States (Ohio to Michigan to Iowa south to Louisiana and Georgia). It typically grows to 2-4' tall.

 "Echinacea"  is derived from the Greek word echinos which means sea-urchin or hedgehog, referring to the pointy cone found in the center of flowers in this genus.

Coneflower is one of the toughest perennials, tolerating dry, droughty soil and hot summer sun; after a big summer display plants flower sporadically until frost; both the pink and white cultivars make good cut flowers.  It is a favorite nectar source for bees and butterflies while in bloom, and the seeds provide a much-needed winter food source for birds.  This plant is slightly salt tolerant. 

The Purple coneflower is an excellent, long-blooming flower for massing in the border, meadow, native plant garden, naturalized area, wildflower garden or part shade area of woodland garden.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Summer, late summer            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer, fall

Wildlife Value:   This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer.  Its flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators.  Songbirds, especially American goldfinches, eat the seeds.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Japanese beetle and leaf spot are occasional problems of the Purple coneflower. It is susceptible to aster yellows disease.

Summer into early fall
Sun, part shade
1-3 ft.
Flower Color:
Rose pink or white with gold centers
USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8
The leaves of the Purple coneflower can be simple or branched, often bristly with a hairy stem. The leaves are roughish above and sharply toothed. The basal leaves are 3-8 in. long, egg-shaped, 5-veined and stalked. The upper leaves are lance-shaped, stalkless, and much smaller. The leaves are dark green.
The Purple coneflower has showy daisy-like purple coneflowers (to 5" diameter) that bloom throughout the summer atop stiff stems clad with coarse, ovate to broad-lanceolate, dark green leaves. Good fresh cut or dried flower. The dead flower stems will remain erect well into the winter, and if flower heads are not removed, the blackened cones may be visited by goldfinches or other birds that feed on the seeds.
The Purple coneflower is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. It is an adaptable plant that is tolerant of drought, heat, humidity and poor soil. Divide clumps when they become overcrowded (about every 4 years). white cultivars usually rebloom without deadheading, however prompt removal of spent flowers improves general appearance. Freely self-seeds if at least some of the seed heads are left in place.
Division in spring, root cuttings
Full sun to partial shade
Well-drained, drought tolerant
Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain
Eastern USA
Life Cycle:
cpp, apvg, drought tolerant, purple, perennial, salt tolerant, white, deer resistant

NCCES plant id: 707

Echinacea purpurea Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea purpurea Echinacea purpurea