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Echinacea purpurea Purple Cone Flower

What do you do with a Purple Cone Flower?

If you are lucky enough to live in the central part of the US where Purple Cone Flower thrives, it can be naturalized to fill a field. It also looks great in a mixed perennial border where it makes a stunning display in mid summer when other pink flowers have started to wane.  It is well behaved enough to use as a potted plant also. Like many perennials, Purple Cone Flowers should be lifted and divided after blooming when the plant's crown becomes to crowded. Usually this occurs in the third or fourth year; this is also when roots can be harvested for medicinal use. Most Purple Cone Flower cultivated for medicinal use is Echinacea purpurea and both the root and the above ground parts are used. There are nine known species and it is suspected that all have similar medical properties, but the research is ongoing and no conclusions have yet been determined.

Purple Cone Flower likes hot humid summers and full sun or light shade. Drainage is important to keep the crowns from rotting. Sometimes deadheading the first flush of flowers can force a smaller second bloom. 

 Purple Cone Flower does well as a fresh cut flower. Dried, the cone adds interest to wreaths and bouquets. The festive pink flower petals can add visual appeal to salads or garnishes. 

And, if beauty and utility are not enough to get you to try a Purple Cone Flower or two, then consider that in the book, Garden Butterflies of North America, Rick Mikula lists Echinacea as one of the top twelve perennials for attracting butterflies. 

All flowers with broad petals provide important resting spots for butterflies. It is not really surprising that Purple Cone Flower is also an excellent source of nectar. After all, it is native to most of the United States. Hardy to Zone 3, stands of Purple Cone Flowers are sure to attract many winged friends and beneficial insects. In hot summer areas, afternoon shade is a must for obtaining attractive flowers. And, like most plants if Purple Cone Flower plants stand in water they will rot. This can be a real problem in winter when the plants have died back to the ground and are dormant. When it dies back to the ground in winter, it should be cut back. 

Coneflower is a common name that is often applied to Rudbeckias, Black Eyed Susans and Chrysamthemums, Shasta Daisies. It can be misleading when these plants are listed as coneflowers with no reference to their botanical name, because these plants have varied growing requirements and don't necessarily live happily together. While Black-Eyed Susan and Shasta Daisy do quite well here  with our scorching summers, Echinacea doesn't care for the climate at all.

It really isn't all that odd that we refer to both Black Eyed Susans and Purple Cone Flowers as Cone Flowers. These plants were both placed in the same genus, Rudbeckia, by scientist Olaf Rudbeck of Uppsala University in Sweden around the turn of the 18th Century. Olaf was a very respected scientist who in addition to creating the first botanic garden in Sweden also discovered the lymphatic system. His son went on to follow in his footsteps and was the teacher and patron of another even more famous botanist, Carl von Linné, who organized plants into the classes, orders, families and species that we still use today. An odd quirk of history caused Rudbeck Sr.'s  botanic garden to become known as The Linnaeus Garden or Linnéträdgården. The garden wasn't the only thing to have its name changed, though. Linné decided Purple Cone Flower was distinct enough to have its own genus and called it Echinacea.

Purple Cone Flower Plants in a mixed border.

Purple Cone Flower adds wonderful color to any garden, but it is especially nice in a mixed border or cottage garden.

Purple Cone Flowers make a great addition to our Wildlife Herb Garden Six Pack.

Cultural Information

Height: Purple 4 Feet ,

Hardiness: Perennial
in Zones 3-11

Flower Color: Purple,  

Characteristics
: Full/
Partial Sun, Herbaceous

Uses: Butterfly, Dried Flower,
Medicinal,Ornamental

This item has been discontinued.

 

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