Purple coneflower—Echinacea

Bees and butterflies love blooming purple coneflower, birds love the flower when its cones turn to seed and you will love purple coneflower for its color, drooping petals and height. Growing two to four feet tall, purple coneflower works well as a backdrop for shorter flowers, like the yellow blooms of moonbeam coreopsis. Purple coneflower is shown above with yarrow (yellow flower) and Russian sage (purple flower).

Choose a sunny location to plant, then divide mature plants or plant from pots in the spring, or toss seed in the fall. Water after first planting but after that, this drought-resistant flower can quench its thirst from rainfall so you shouldn’t have to water.

Flowers bloom from mid-summer to early fall. Skip deadheading if you want the plant to drop seed to expand your garden. Harvest seeds by cutting stems whose cones are dry (looks almost black) around September, tie string or twist ties around the base of a group of stems and hang them upside-down indoors. Tie a paper bag or newspaper loosely around the cones to collect the falling seeds. Shake the bunch occasionally, listening for fallen seed. Rub the fallen seeds between your fingers to remove the chafe, let dry on paper for about one week, and then place in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer. Plant indoors in late winter for transplanting outdoors in spring.

Recognize the word “Echinacea”? Echinacea has been proven to boost our immunity system. Products containing Echinacea use portions of the root of purple coneflower.