Echinacea purpurea

Native coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is an easy-care, herbaceous perennial for sun to part/bright shade.

Purple coneflower can reach a height of about 2 feet, and perhaps an additional 12 to 18 inches, including its flower spikes, but each plant stays very compact in width, at only a foot or so.

Cluster in groups of 3-5 for the most impact. In the right conditions, coneflower will seed out for even more. It’s easy to move them in early spring.

Producing striking individual light pink to purple flowers from spring all the way through fall, Echinacea is very drought tolerant and should be watered sparingly, in only the hottest, driest of times.

The flowers are long-lasting and attract lots of pollinators to nectar and pollen, but are pretty unattractive once they fade. You may be tempted to dead-head, but try to resist that urge: the seed heads are a great food source for small birds.

There are lots of cultivars out there, and most of them do well in the same planting environment as the native, but may not provide seeds for native birds.

The stems of Echinacea remain entirely just below the soil surface, so you’ll need to be extra careful that this beauty doesn’t stay too wet. In droughty years, this won’t be too hard, but in years with lots of winter and spring rain, the plants may rot, especially if you have any amount of clay in your soil. To combat this, loosen the planting area with expanded shale, and even consider planting on berms. And be sure not to overwater.