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Plant Profile: Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea purpurea)

PConeflower purple Echinacea purpurea Magnusurple Cone Flower is an herbaceous perennial native to central and eastern US where it grows in open woods, prairies, and meadows. It is a member of the aster family (Asteraceae) a very large plant family that also includes sunflowers, black eyed Susans, and daisies. Stiff stems carry dark green leaves that are four to eight inches long, coarse, and covered with short hairs. The five inch wide flower heads are produced singly from early summer into fall and consist of dark brown disc flowers tinted with bronze and surrounded by rose to purple ray flowers than are somewhat reflexed. Numerous cultivars are available that vary in characteristics such as flower color, plant size, and the degree to which the ray flowers are reflexed. The flowers are good in the vase and are often used without the ray flowers in both fresh and dried arrangements. Flowers are attractive to butterflies and the seeds to birds. The plant tolerates heat, humidity and drought, and is an excellent choice for borders, meadow gardens, and wildflower garden. The generic name Echinacea comes from the Greek word echinos meaning hedgehog and refers to the spiny nature of the central disc. The specific epithet, purpurea means purple.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Pink to purple flowerheads with dark brown center tinted with bronze ; up to five inches across ; from early summer to fall

Size: 2-3’ H x 2’ W

Light: Full sun; tolerate some shade

Soil: Average, dry to moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Care: Deadhead to maintain attractive appearance

Pests and Diseases: Mildew, aster yellows, Japanese beetles

Propagation: Seed, division

Companion plants: Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), gayfeather (Liatris), tickseed (Coreopsis grandiflora), Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, grasses

Outstanding Selections: 
‘Robert Bloom’ (Crimson purple rays with orange disc, five to eight inch flowers, with horizontal rays, free branching, long bloom time)
‘Magnus’ (rays less reflexed than species)
‘White Swan’ (Pure white rays, 1.5-2’ tall)
‘Ruby Giant’ ( Seven inch flowers with horizontal rays)