Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

While biking through a nearby forest preserve, I stumbled across multiple Echinacea purpurea to the side of the path. Curious as to what they were, I began asking around once I returned home. I’ve discovered a surprising amount in my hometown, which further perked my interest in these. Turns out that these deceptively fragile coneflowers tolerate a great deal of environmental conditions. Their resistances and unique lavender inflorescences have made them extremely popular in most areas across North America.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple coneflower)
Deciduous: yes
Hardiness Zones: 4-9 (in zone 3 and zone 10 with adequete protection)
Height: 2-5 feet
Diameter: 1.5-2.0 feet across
Growth Rate: moderate
Age: perennial
Root System: deep, fibrous root system
Family: Asteraceae
Subspecies: ‘Alba’, ‘Bravado’, ‘Bressingham hybirds’, ‘Finale White’, ‘Kim’s Knee High’, ‘Magnus’, ‘Robert Bloom’, Springbrook’s Crimson Star’, ‘The King’, ‘White King’, ‘White Swan’

 

Tolerates: deer, drought, clay soil, dry soil, rocky soil, acidic soil, slightly alkaline soil
Problems (major): Very intolerant salt. Self-seeding can lead to excessive, potentially invasive, reproduction. Sweetpotato whitefly can be very harmful.
Problems (minor): Japanese beetle and leaf spot are minor problems, vine weevils bother roots, powdery mildew and grey mold can be issues
Poisonous: no evidence of toxicity to humans or animals

Soil requirements: E. purpurea accepts acidic to slightly alkaline soil (6.0-7.0 pH is optimal); dry, clay, and rocky soils are all viable options.
Air Requirements: not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: dry to medium
Sun requirement: prefers full sun, survives in part-shade

Leaf shape: lanceolate, medium green color
Leaf size: 5 inches in diameter
Flower structure: 10-20 drooping lavender rays surround a black center (eye) which contains seeds. These resemble the daisy-like Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida).
Flowering frequency: flowers annually from June until August
Bulb/tuber: neither, has a deep, fibrous root system
Monocot/Dicot: dicot
Annual/Biennial/Perennial: perennial

Notable characteristics:
The daisy-like blooms with several lavender rays attract a great deal of attention in gardens.

Uses:
Purple coneflowers attract birds and butterflies. The flowers are remarkably unique and beautiful, so they are fairly common in household gardens. These plants go extraordinarily well with Rudbeckia fulgida, Black-eyed Susans.

Sources used:

Wisconsin_2 Purple Coneflower inflorescences in Wisconsin (image taken August 2012 by me)

DSC07539 DSC07540 DSC07822 DSC07823

The image provided may be used for educational/informational uses provided that this article or online journal is properly cited/referrecned.

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