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Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower)

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Technical sheet - Echinacea
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Echinacea purpurea

purple coneflower

One of the great butterfly magnets of the native perennial garden! Coneflowers are easy to grow in average to dry, well drained soils. Flowers with large orange gold spiky centers and strong reflexed rose pink petals appear in July and August. Very drought tolerant.

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2-3 Feet


18-24 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

purple coneflower Interesting Notes

The poster child for the native plant movement, Echinacea purpurea can now be found anywhere, from the home garden to prairie restoration to corporate plazas. Eminently endurable, resilient, and beautiful, purple coneflower blooms in late summer with purple-pink petals surrounding brilliant orange cones. Grown from seed, purple coneflower grows 2-4’ in height and the flower head sits on a sturdy stem that can be single and upright or branched. A wonderful plant to naturalize in the garden or planted in mass for a powerful and colorful statement in August.

Ranging from Texas to New York, Echinacea purpurea can be found in moist prairies, meadows and open woods. As popular as they are in the landscape, coneflower is uncommon in the wild. They prefer full sun in fertile well-drained soil but one of the best features of Echinacea is the way it is able to tolerate drought, clay, high heat and humidity, part sun, and poor soils.

The flowers of coneflower provide multiple seasons of interest from summer while it blooms to fall and winter where the great seedheads are upright and structural. Butterflies and bees love the nectar of the flowers and goldfinches can’t help but flock to the seeds during the fall. Echinacea is an essential component in our mid-height meadow – an example of how spaces can be designed for the height and transparency for urban needs.

Echinacea purpurea Growing and Maintenance Tips

Echinacea take a wide array of conditions from average dry soil to medium, well-drained soil in part shade to full sun. Plant flowers best in full sun. Low-maintenance and tolerates drought, humidity, heat, poor soil. Resistant to pest and disease but sometimes suspectible to aster yellows disease. To encourage longer bloom time, flower heads can be deadheaded but not necessary. Seedheads are a delightful source of food for birds. To propagate, divide clump in the spring every 4 years. Root cuttings are also successful. Propagation by seed is easy if the birds don't eat it all first. 

Good Substitutions

coneflower Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'
pale purple coneflower Echinacea pallida
purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea 'Ruby Star'
yellow coneflower Echinacea paradoxa

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Salt Tolerance
Salt Tolerance
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Green Infrastructure
Green Roof
Plug Type
Horticultural Plug
Landscape Plug™
Clay Tolerance
Native to North America
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Propagation Type
Open pollinated