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Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea

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

Purple Coneflower is an herbaceous perennial in the aster family that is native to central and eastern USA. It may grow 3 to 4 feet tall and produce pinkish-purple flowers that mature in early summer through mid-fall. Many cultivars are available for varied sizes and colors.  Several 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.

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, often purplish, spreading-drooping
  • Leaves rough to touch
Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Walkway at the Park Round Garden Bed Pollinator Garden- Partial Shade Entryway Garden Walkway at the Park Round Garden Bed Pollinator Garden- Full Sun Pollinator Garden- Partial Shade Sun to Shade Garden Entryway Garden Pollinator Garden- Partial Shade Walkway at the Park Davidson County Demo Garden Walkway at the Park Pollinator Garden- Partial Shade Walkway at the Park Bee Hive Garden, Wake Co Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White flowers
  • 'Amazing Dream'
  • 'Avalanche'
    White flowers
  • 'Bright Star'
    Dwarf with rosy-pink flowers
  • 'Bright Star'
    Taller, petals held more horizontal
  • Fragrant Angel
    Clean white rays, excellent fragrance
  • 'Glowing Dream'
  • 'Harvest Moon'
    Golden yellow flower, orange cones
  • ‘Kim’s Knee High’
  • ‘Magnus’
  • 'PAS702917' Powwow Wildberry Echinacea purpurea
    Rosy pink flowers
  • 'Purity'
  • Ruby Star
    Red to purple rays, dark brown cone
  • 'Secret Affair'
  • 'Sundown'
    Large russet orange rays
  • 'Tiki Torch'
    Bright orange
  • 'White Swan'
    Large flowers, slightly drooping petals
'Alba', 'Amazing Dream', 'Avalanche', 'Bright Star', 'Bright Star', Fragrant Angel, 'Glowing Dream', 'Harvest Moon', ‘Kim’s Knee High’, ‘Magnus’, 'PAS702917' Powwow Wildberry, 'Purity', Ruby Star, 'Secret Affair', 'Sundown', 'Tiki Torch', 'White Swan'
Tags:
#bees#purple#white#drought tolerant#perennial#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#red flowers#native perennial#salt tolerant#tough plant#low maintenance#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#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White flowers
  • 'Amazing Dream'
  • 'Avalanche'
    White flowers
  • 'Bright Star'
    Dwarf with rosy-pink flowers
  • 'Bright Star'
    Taller, petals held more horizontal
  • Fragrant Angel
    Clean white rays, excellent fragrance
  • 'Glowing Dream'
  • 'Harvest Moon'
    Golden yellow flower, orange cones
  • ‘Kim’s Knee High’
  • ‘Magnus’
  • 'PAS702917' Powwow Wildberry Echinacea purpurea
    Rosy pink flowers
  • 'Purity'
  • Ruby Star
    Red to purple rays, dark brown cone
  • 'Secret Affair'
  • 'Sundown'
    Large russet orange rays
  • 'Tiki Torch'
    Bright orange
  • 'White Swan'
    Large flowers, slightly drooping petals
'Alba', 'Amazing Dream', 'Avalanche', 'Bright Star', 'Bright Star', Fragrant Angel, 'Glowing Dream', 'Harvest Moon', ‘Kim’s Knee High’, ‘Magnus’, 'PAS702917' Powwow Wildberry, 'Purity', Ruby Star, 'Secret Affair', 'Sundown', 'Tiki Torch', 'White Swan'
Tags:
#bees#purple#white#drought tolerant#perennial#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#red flowers#native perennial#salt tolerant#tough plant#low maintenance#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#audubon
  • 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
    Easy to Grow
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Herbaceous parts may be steeped as a tea
    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
    Herbaceous Perennial
    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)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    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, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Good Dried
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Seeds produced in the center cone are small, dark, 4 sided achenes that are attractive to birds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    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. Many cultivars exist most commonly in shades of white, pink, and purple but also red, orange, and yellow.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cuneate
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    3-8 inch long alternate, simple, dark green, scabrous leaves. The lower leaves are winged 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
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Humidity
    Poor Soil
    Salt