12 Dec

Coneflower (Echinacea) deciduous perennial, clumping very vertical growth to 2-3 feet, large fragrant daisy-type flowers in shades of orange-red, purple, yellow and brown, deep green hairy leaves, used medicinally, good cut flower, full sun, attracts butterflies.

These are tough, colorful perennials from central and eastern North America. Daisylike flowers, usually with narrow, arching rays, have brownish orange, dome-shaped centers and are held on straight stems above clumps of bristly foliage. Flowers are often lightly fragrant. Generally bloom over a long period in summer (may start in spring in mildwinter climates). Flowering may continue until frost.

Use on the outskirts of gardens or in wide borders with other robust perennials. Also excellent in containers. Generally do not need staking. Perform well in summer heat (though not in the hottest desert areas, where they are mainly spring blooming). Good cut flowers.

Clumps spread slowly, become crowded after 3 or 4 years. Fleshy rootstocks can be difficult to separate; divide carefully, making sure each division has a shoot and roots. Plantings can also be increased by taking root cuttings, seeding, or transplanting self-sown seedlings.

Echinacea angustifolia

Native to central North  America. Prairie wildflower to 3–4 ft. high, 2 ft. wide. Flowers to 2 in. wide, with pink to rosy purple rays drooping from a purple-brown cone. Narrow, bristly leaves to 6 in. long.

Echinacea hybrid

Complex crosses have produced hybrid coneflowers that are popular for their vigor and extended color range.

Echinacea pallida

Native to eastern North America. Grows 3–5 ft. high, 2 ft. wide. Erect plant with narrow, lance-shaped leaves. Mauve pink flowers with slender, drooping rays appear in late summer to fall.

Echinacea paradoxa

Native to the Ozarks. To 2–3 ft. high, 2 ft. wide. Drooping yellow to orange-yellow rays surround a brown cone. Flowers are about 2 in. wide. Smooth, lance-shaped leaves to 8 in. long.

Echinacea purpurea

Bristly, oblong, 3–4-in.-long leaves form a 2-ft. wide, dense foliage clump from which rise sparsely leafed flowering stems 3–4 ft. high. Showy, 4-in. flowers have drooping, rosy purple rays and a central orange-brown cone that resembles a beehive. If faded flowers are left in place, bristly seed heads hang on into winter; seeds are favored by finches.

‘Mango Meadowbright’

Grows 2–3 ft. high and wide. Orange-yellow petals surround orange-brown centers.

‘Pixie Meadowbright’

Just 1 1/2 ft. tall and a bit wider, with pink, nondrooping petals surrounding a yellow-brown center.


Deep rose-pink, fragrant flowers on a bushy plant 2 1/2 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide.

Orange Meadowbright

To 2–3 ft. high and wide; bears reddish orange flowers.


Grows 2–3 ft. high and 2 ft. wide, with fragrant reddish orange flowers.


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