Landscape Spotlight: Coneflower, ‘Echinacea purpurea’

Posted June 22, 2017 in Blog, Plant and Tree

Coneflowers could potentially be called a fence flower, not necessarily meaning that they should be planted near a fence, but rather you’re either on the side of the fence that loves them or the opposite side that could do without.  While coneflowers are considered classic prairie flowers, they also have a rough, been-through-it-all appearance that doesn’t appeal to every homeowner.  Coneflowers may not be as pristine and stately as a fragrant rosebush or as splendid as a mass of day lilies, but they do exude their own charm and have their own bag of benefits within your landscape!

Native to central and eastern United States, the coneflower has many varieties and hybrids to include different height and color combinations to suit any garden taste.  Colors range from the familiar purples, pinks and whites to rich oranges, reds and even shades of lime green!  No matter the color, the distinct characteristic is noted in its petals.  Coneflower petals droop down from the center cone, signaling to the untrained eye that they need more water, but that isn’t the case!  Once established, coneflowers are an extremely heat and drought-tolerant plant.

These flowers are best when mixed into a perennial bed or used along a border, but they really shine in a prairie garden or more informal setting.  As an added bonus, each variety has the native quality to attract butterflies, a variety of bees and birds yet repel the ultimate landscape nuisance, deer!  The whimsical and almost playful blooms sway in the breeze with the slightest breeze, adding movement and life to the landscape.  While a prolific bloomer from midsummer to fall, once the petals fall away, the center cone adds a distinctive panache to the cool-weather landscape and to decorative or dry arrangements as well!

Thriving in full sun, this flower can tolerate just about any landscape but does best in well-draining soil.  As a full-season beauty, you will not have to worry about a particular fertilizing or mulching schedule as the rest of the landscape may require.  Coneflowers are happier without the fuss!  With a proclivity to self-sow if left to its own devices over the winter chill, you will find that the coneflower will spread throughout the landscape on its own watch, so be sure to plant with enough room to move or plan on thinning out when starting to look a little too crowded.  While coneflowers don’t care to be relocated, you can do so with great success with a little finesse and leaving plenty of soil around the roots for transplanting.

  • –  Did you know?  –
    *  The word echinacea stems from the Greek word echinos, which means hedgehog!  This is in reference to the spiny central cone of the flower.  *
    *  Known for its anti-inflammatory, healing and immune system stimulant qualities, echinacea purpurea has been utilized since the 1800s for its medicinal value!  *

When it comes to landscapes, garden beds sometimes have a tendency to get too crowded or overloaded with too many colors and textures, rendering them too busy to fully appreciate.  Ironically, the subtle simplicity of the coneflower makes it stand out of the crowd giving it its own limelight where you wouldn’t think any would be due.  This is one true example of when sometimes less can be more.

Would you like to know more about low-maintenance perennials like the coneflower or discuss what plants and flowers would work best within your landscape?  MasterPLAN Landscape Design has extensive experience, knowledge and background in everything outdoor living.  From softscapes and hardscapes to backyard solutions and transformations, it is our mission to not only provide beautiful, custom outdoor living spaces, but to also educate our clients along the way.  Reach out to MasterPLAN when you are ready to explore the full potential for your own property!

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