Echinacea purpurea, commonly called purple coneflower, is an herbaceous perennial that is native to moist prairies, meadows and open woods of the central to southeastern United States (Ohio to Michigan to Iowa south to Louisiana and Georgia). It typically grows to 2-4' tall. Showy daisy-like purple coneflowers (to 5" diameter) bloom throughout summer atop stiff stems clad with ovate to broad-lanceolate, dark green leaves. Good fresh cut or dried flower. The dead flower stems will remain erect well into the winter, and if flower heads are not removed, the blackened cones may be visited by goldfinches or other birds that feed on the seeds.
Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. An adaptable plant that is tolerant of drought, heat, humidity and poor soil. Divide clumps when they become overcrowded (about every 4 years). Plants usually rebloom without deadheading, however prompt removal of spent flowers improves general appearance. Excellent, long-blooming flower for massing in the border, meadow, native plant garden, naturalized area, wildflower garden or part shade area of woodland garden. Often massed with black-eyed Susans (rudbeckias).
- Sow the seeds on the ground.
- Cover them with a layer of soil that is ½ inch thick.
- Water the seeds. The seeds start to sprout in 10-20 days.
- Apply a quality fertilizer several times throughout the growing season for large blooms.