Echinacea Purpurea, also known as Purple Cone Flower, is one of the most popular perennials in the garden center today. Most of you know it as a dietary supplement that you purchase at the local health store, used to help fight off and prevent infection. And even though that is a great attribute of this plant, the best part is that it is an amazingly beautiful perennial that gives you great pink flowers in your garden.
The Purple Cone Flower’s Benefits
Beneficial characteristics of the Purple Cone Flower are that it attracts butterflies, honeybees and other beneficial insects plus is a great source of nectar for humming birds. It makes a great cutting flower and also has great heat tolerance once well established. It has very few pests or diseases but occasionally can get attacked by Japanese beetles. If that happens, a quick easy remedy will correct that.
Caring for the Purple Cone Flower
This flower will grow best in a FULL SUN area of the garden with well drained soil. It does not like to be over watered nor having the soil sopping wet. Echinacea has dark green lance shaped leaves (long but wide in the middle) that have a rough sand paper texture. This great perennial produces daisy shaped purple flowers that have a spiny center with drooping pedals. Bloom time can be anywhere from April thru October. When in full bloom the plant stands 2 – 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It will work well as a mass planting, as a border, or a welcomed addition to a cut flower garden. Consistent dead heading will keep the flowers coming.
When first planting Echinacea, incorporate into the soil rich compost such as Bumper crop, along with some peat moss. This will provide a perfect soil foundation for new plants that can retain water and nutrients. To help in drought conditions use Espoma Bio-tone soil conditioner with beneficial mycorrihizae. This will help establish a large healthy root system. Follow with a monthly feed of Espoma Flower-Tone. Every 2 – 3 years divide the root clumps to help maintain the vigor of this great plant.
If you want a plant that will brighten your garden in the dog days of summer, then Purple Cone Flower is the choice for you. Try one today! One more thing, don’t let the name purple fool you. This plant comes in a few different colors. We also have Milkshake (white), Marmalade (orange), and White Swan (white).