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Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea purpurea

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Zone
Zones A2, A3, 1-24, 26, 28-45
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Echinacea purpurea

Purple Coneflower
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Perennials

ECHINACEA

These are tough, colorful perennials from central and eastern North America. Daisylike flowers, usually with narrow, arching rays, have brownish orange, dome-shaped centers and are held on straight stems above clumps of bristly foliage. Flowers are often lightly fragrant. Generally bloom over a long period in summer (may start in spring in mildwinter climates). Flowering may continue until frost.

Use on the outskirts of gardens or in wide borders with other robust perennials. They are also excellent in containers. Generally do not need staking. They perform well in summer heat (though not in the hottest desert areas, where they are mainly spring blooming). Good cut flowers.

Clumps spread slowly, become crowded after 3 or 4 years. Fleshy rootstocks can be difficult to separate; divide carefully, making sure each division has a shoot and roots. Plantings can also be increased by taking root cuttings, seeding, or transplanting self-sown seedlings.

Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea purpurea

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Echinacea purpurea

Bristly, oblong, 3–4-in.-long leaves form a 2-ft. wide, dense foliage clump from which rise sparsely leafed flowering stems 3–4 ft. high. Showy, 4-in. flowers have drooping, rosy purple rays and a central orange-brown cone that resembles a beehive. If faded flowers are left in place, bristly seed heads hang on into winter; seeds are favored by finches. Many fine varieties are available.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Coconut Lime’ (photo courtesy of Skagit Gardens)
Echinacea purpurea ‘Coconut Lime’ (photo courtesy of Skagit Gardens)

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‘Coconut Lime’

‘Coconut Lime’ is a double flower, with a single row of large white petals surrounding a tuft of smaller light green petals around the cone. Grows to 2–3 ft. high.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Doubledecker’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Echinacea purpurea ‘Doubledecker’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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‘Doubledecker’ (‘Doppelganger’)

‘Doubledecker’ (‘Doppelganger’), another 2-footer, has something extra: a second set of pink petals emerging from the top of the cone.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Fragrant Angel’ (photo courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.)
Echinacea purpurea ‘Fragrant Angel’ (photo courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.)

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‘Fragrant Angel’

Plant grows to 2–2 1/2 ft. tall, with sweetly scented white flowers.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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‘Magnus’

Strong grower to 3–4 ft. tall, about half as wide, with deep purplish pink, orange-centered flowers up to 7 in. wide.

‘Rubinstern’ (‘Ruby Star’)

Grows to 2–3 ft. high, 2 ft. wide, with carmine-red rays that are held horizontally rather than drooping. 

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