Purple coneflowers are tough, attractive perennials. In summer, they have large daisy-shaped flowers with bronze or brown centers. The pink, white, or yellow petals are often reflexed, or look pushed back away from the center of the flower. Foliage is dark green and somewhat rough to the touch.
- Common name: Purple coneflower
- Botanical name: Echinacea spp.
- Zones: 3 to 9, depending on species
- Size: To 5 feet tall, depending on species
- From: Areas of North America
- Family: Compositae (daisy family)
- Sun: Full sun or partial shade
- Soil: Moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic matter.
- Moisture: Drought tolerant
- Mulch: Lay a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch over the soil around the plants. Use winter mulch only after the soil has frozen.
- Pruning: Cut back plants in autumn after freezing temperatures arrive or in spring before plants begin to grow.
- Fertilizer: Fertilizer is generally not necessary.
- Seed: Sow seeds indoors or in the garden in spring.
- Division: Divide anytime the soil isn't frozen. Spring and autumn are best.
- Purple coneflowers are the source of the herbal compound echinacea, and many wild plants are harvested every year to procure this substance. When purchasing purple coneflowers, be sure they're nursery propagated.
- Aphids: These small insects appear in large numbers on new growth. Spray them daily with a stream of water; they will not attack a plant after being knocked off. Use an insecticidal soap or neem-oil spray if infestations are severe.
- Powdery mildew: This disease appears in mid- to late summer; affected leaves are covered with a grayish powder and often drop off. To deter the disease, prune the plant to maintain good airflow and avoid wetting the foliage in afternoons and evenings.
- Echinacea angustifolia: Grows to 4 feet tall; flowerheads are pale purple-pink or occasionally white with orange-brown central cones. Blooms in early summer. Zones 4 to 9.
- Echinacea pallida: Grows to 4 feet tall. Its creamy pink flowers have narrow petals. Blooms in summer. Zones 4 to 8.
- Echinacea paradoxa: Grows to 5 feet tall with yellow flowers in summer. Zones 4 to 9.
- Echinacea purpurea ‘Crimson Star': Grows to 5 feet tall with darker flowers than the species. Blooms in summer. Zones 4 to 9.
- Echinacea purpurea ‘Kim's Knee High': Dwarf selection growing 2 feet tall with pinkish-purple flowers. Zones 4 to 9.
- Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus': Grows to 5 feet tall with pinkish purple flowers and orange-brown central cones. This cultivar holds its petals straighter than other coneflowers. Blooms in summer. Zones 4 to 9.
- Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan': Grows to 5 feet tall with white flowers and orange-brown central cones. Blooms in summer. Zones 4 to 9.
- Echinacea tennesseensis: Grows 3 feet tall with pinkish purple flowers. Zones 3 to 9.