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Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea

Phonetic Spelling
ek-in-AY-shee-ah pur-PUR-ee-ah
Description

Purple Coneflower is a herbaceous perennial in the aster family that is native to central and eastern USA. It may grow 3 to 4 feet tall and produces pinkish-purple flowers that mature in early summer through mid-fall. Many pollinators are attracted to the flower, especially butterflies. Leave some of the flower heads on to produce seeds for the birds.

This plant prefers well-drained moist loams but is adaptable to various soil types. It is drought tolerant once established and can grow in full sun to partial shade. It is easily propagated by seed and will reseed itself in the garden. Many cultivars are available for varied sizes and colors. 

This is a popular and long-blooming plant for use in the native garden, meadows, pollinator gardens and naturalized areas. 

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

Quick ID Hints:

  • Erect herb with terminal, brown-domed heads
  • Ray flowers in 1-2 rows, purplish, spreading-drooping
  • Leaves rough to touch

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White flowers
  • 'Amazing Dream'
  • 'Avalanche'
    White flowers
  • 'Bright Star'
    Dwarf with rosy-pink flowers
  • 'Bright Star'
    Taller, petals held more horizontal
  • 'Glowing Dream'
  • ‘Kim’s Knee High’
  • ‘Magnus’
  • 'Purity'
  • 'Secret Affair'
Tags:
#bees#purple#white#drought tolerant#perennial#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#red flowers#native perennial#salt tolerant#apvg#playground#food source#cpp#fire#medium flammability#NC native#summer flowers#children's garden#naturalizes#pollinator plant#native wildflower#fantz#late spring flowers#food source summer#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source nectar#food source pollen#food source hard-mast fruit#butterfly friendly#HS302#apvg-p
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White flowers
  • 'Amazing Dream'
  • 'Avalanche'
    White flowers
  • 'Bright Star'
    Dwarf with rosy-pink flowers
  • 'Bright Star'
    Taller, petals held more horizontal
  • 'Glowing Dream'
  • ‘Kim’s Knee High’
  • ‘Magnus’
  • 'Purity'
  • 'Secret Affair'
Tags:
#bees#purple#white#drought tolerant#perennial#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#red flowers#native perennial#salt tolerant#apvg#playground#food source#cpp#fire#medium flammability#NC native#summer flowers#children's garden#naturalizes#pollinator plant#native wildflower#fantz#late spring flowers#food source summer#food source fall#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source nectar#food source pollen#food source hard-mast fruit#butterfly friendly#HS302#apvg-p
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Echinacea
    Species:
    purpurea
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    This was an important plant to the Native Americans to treat may ailments. Early settlers used the medicinal root for almost any kind of sickness. It became the only native prairie plant commonly used by both doctors and folk practitioners as medicine. People also used echinacea to support cows and horses when they weren't eating well.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and central USA
    Distribution:
    AL , AR , CT , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WI , WV
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Its flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Songbirds, especially American goldfinches, eat the seeds. Slightly deer resistant.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Good Dried
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Seeds produced in the center cone are small, dark, 4 sided achenes that are attractive to birds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Flowers occur singly atop stiff stems and have domed, purplish-brown, spiny disc flowers in the center and drooping, lavender rays around them in daisy-like fashion. Blooms are up to 5 inches across
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cuneate
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    3-8 inch long alternate, simple, dark green, scabrous leaves. The lower leaves are petiolate (with stems) and are ovate to broadly lanceolate, tip narrowly acute, broad cuneate base, and margins denticulate to coarsely toothed. The upper cauline (stem) leaves are reduced in size, narrower with a short petiolate to sessile (no stem) and nearly entire margins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The light green stems have small purple streaks and scattered white hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Humidity
    Poor Soil
    Salt