Coneflower, Purple (Echinacea purpurea)

Quick Facts

  • Easy to grow, native perennial flower for Iowa
  • Often reseeds in the garden
  • Great pollinator plant for butterlies and other insects; seed heads attract goldfinches and other birds especially during winter
image of echinacea purpurea
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Common name(s): purple coneflower

Scientific name: Echinacea purpurea

Family: Asteraceae

Size: height 1.5—5’, spread 1.5—2’

Hardiness: Zones 3—8

Leaves: 4—8”, dark green, coarse, serrated, short stiff hairs, alternate, simple

Leaf Color: dark green

Flowers: June—August, purple-pink, purple, white, 3—4” diameter, brown central cone with bronze tint, slightly drooping

Fruit: small seed

Habit: upright, clump forming

Stem: herbaceous

Nativity: Central United States

Insects & Disease Issues: Leaf spots, Japanese beetle and aster yellows (occasionally), 

Culture and Uses:

Great flower for full sun, well drained soils.  Tolerates hot and dry well.  Plants have a big flush of bloom in first part of summer with consistent bloom (but fewer) until first frost.  Deadheading will promote more repeat blooms.  Goldfinches and other birds like the seed found in the dried black center part of the flower and spent flowers will stand through winter.  Plants freely and easily re-seed throughout the garden and this can be reduced if you remove flowers after they fade and before they set seed.  Plants can get overcrowded and benefit from division every 4 to 6 years.  There have been multiple new introductions of purple coneflower in many different colors.  Most of these new cultivars are the result of seedling selection of purple coneflower or crossing between E. purpurea and E. paradoxa (occasionally E. pallida and E. tennesseensis).

Notable Cultivars & Related Species:

E. paradoxa (yellow coneflower) - yellow flowers

E. pallida (pale purple coneflower) - purple, narrow, very downward flexing ray flowers

E. tennesseensis (Tennessee coneflower) - purple, upward facing ray flowers

‘White Swan’ - white flowers

‘Ruby Giant’ - large (7”), ruby-purple flowers

‘Razzmatazz’ - double, purple flowers

Image of some coneflowers
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Last reviewed:
December 2021

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