|Monday Melange: Purple Coneflower|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Monday, 07 November 2011|
Hardy between USDA plant zones 3 and 8, purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a native perennial species that is not only attractive, but is drought tolerant. Purple coneflower is sometimes referred to as Eastern purple coneflower. Its range extends throughout the eastern US from New York and Connecticut south to Florida and across to Colorado and Texas. Purple coneflower is a member of the Aster plant family (Asteraceae) and is listed as threatened in Florida and probably extirpated in Michigan.
A relative of upright prairie coneflower, purple coneflower grows to a height of 2 to 5 feet tall. The attractive flowers bloom between June and August and are quite showy with pinkish-purple to lavender flower rays and reddish-bronze center cones. The flowers attract birds and butterflies. Deadheading produces more abundant flower blooms but is not necessary. The seedheads persist into winter.
Purple coneflower prefers full sun, but tolerates partial shade. It is easily grown from seed or from divisions. The drought tolerant purple coneflower will naturalize and is an excellent choice for perennial borders, cut flower gardens, and Xeriscape gardens. Not only is purple coneflower a terrific flowering plant for the garden, it has medicinal properties as well. Most of you by now are probably familiar with Echinacea’s reputation as for helping ward off colds and speeding recovery.
Photo source: www.bluestoneperennials.com