My big fondness for coneflowers goes way back to it being one of the first perennials I ever purchased. Coneflowers are named for the impressive burnished cone at their centers – the perfect butterfly perch. These perennials are often included in children’s gardens because they attract butterflies and bees. Coneflowers sturdy height, clumps of deep green background leaves and colourful, joyful blooms provide easy garden bones. Their happy demeanor lends a wildflower quality to any garden. They are a stellar mixer with many perennials like hyssops, shasta daisies, russian sage or rudbeckia, especially in mass plantings. In the past few years, there has been a plethora of new colour offerings, giving you a choice of the traditional purple, or creamy yellows, vivid oranges, soft pinks, and elegant whites. My favourite varieties include the classic purple (ruby star, magnus), white swan, tangerine dream and sundown. The large, long lasting blooms are also a wonderful cut flower. Deadheading keeps coneflowers blooming, but I leave lots of seed heads in place for winter interest and to attract the birds. Unlike many perennials, the latin name echinacea is well known thanks to its reputation as an herbal remedy.
Technical stuff – Coneflower/Echinacea, hardy perennial to Zone 3, prefers full sun and good drainage but is adaptable, height of 30”-48”+, spread of about 24”, though dwarf varieties available, blooms mid to late summer, drought tolerant once established.