INFORMATION ABOUT PURPLE CONEFLOWER…
Image by Jordan Meeter Known for its immune enhancing abilities, you’ve probably seen Echinacea (the purple coneflower) on the shelf of your local drug store. Not only is it popular in the vitamin form, but the purple coneflower is also a lovely wildflower that is a favorite among gardeners.
Native to North America , the purple coneflower makes an excellent addition to any garden. Besides a long blooming period (30-60 days), this perennial also grows well under almost any conditions (even droughts). Considered one of the toughest of all perennials, the purple coneflower is easy to grow and very low maintenance.
The purple coneflower looks a lot like a daisy with its purplish pink/lavender drooping petals and brownish orange cone-like center. It graces hairy, prickly stems and dark green lance shaped leaves.
Flowering from July to September, the purple coneflower is quite the attraction for bees and butterflies. The dead flowers will remain upright throughout the winter and the blackened cones are then a feast for many types of birds, especially gold finches.
For best results, start seeds indoors in flats and then transplant them. They should be planted no more than 1/8″ deep. The purple coneflower grows best in well drained neutral to alkaline soil with full sun, although they do tolerate some shade. The flowers themselves can grow anywhere from 3 to 4 inches across with a height of 3 to 4 feet. They are hardy in zones 3-9.
Also called the Black Sampson or Hedge Coneflower, the purple coneflower is great for borders, meadows, butterfly gardens, and containers. They also make beautiful cut flowers and have a wonderful honey fragrance.
There are several other varieties of the coneflower:
· Alba – White flowers
· Bravado – Larger red flowers with dark red centers
· Bright Star – Large red blooms with maroon centers
· Crimson Star – Flat crimson red flowers
· Kim’s Knee High – A dwarf only 15 inches tall, pink flowers
· Magnus – Rose colored flowers on 3 foot tall plants
· Ovation – Single, rosy-pink flowers
· White Swan – White flowers on plants 3 feet tall or less
The purple coneflower is one of the most eye catching of all wildflowers. Tall and stately, you just can’t help but fall in love with this purple beauty.