Coneflowers – Echinacea
Coneflowers, also known as Echinacea, are tough little native flowers that draw butterflies, bees, and birds to the garden! Trouble-free, coneflowers are drought-tolerant, once established. They can take the heat! They have become one of the most common and highly valued medicinal plants on the Canadian Prairies.
Botanical Name: Echinacea purpurea
Nom Français: Échinacée

Features

Bloom colour: Orange | Pink | Purple | White
Blooms: Fall - Zone 5 | Summer - Zone 5
Pollinators: Bees | Birds | Bumble bees | Butterflies
Sun or Shade: Full Sun
Plant Type: Perennial
Height: Up to 5 feet (160 cms)
They are found only in eastern and central North America.
It grows well in hardiness zones: 3 to 9

Excellent, long-blooming flower for massing in the border, meadow, native plant garden, naturalized area, wildflower garden or part shade area of woodland garden. They have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming in summer. They come in colours such as red, pink, orange and yellow.

Planting

They grow in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas.
Water requirement: Dry to medium
Loamy. Rich soil with a near neutral Ph. and mainly Dry to medium, well- drained soils.
If the soil is heavy or is not free draining add lots of well rotted compost to the area and dig it in well. It can be planted all year long if the soil is not frozen and you can water well when conditions are dry. Mid March to April and mid September to October are the best times to plant potted Echinacea.
In Pots. Echinacea can also be grown as a container plant as long as the container is deep enough to accommodate the plant's taproot. They may be kept indoors in the winter with measured success, but they do well on porches, decks, and patios as spring and summer container plants.

Care

Start seeds indoors in late winter and set out seedlings, or start with purchased plants. Echinacea often does not bloom reliably until its second year in the garden. Echinacea is a hardy perennial that survives very cold winters. Plants become dormant in winter and re-emerge in spring.
Plants bloom heavily from July through September and are popular with both bees and butterflies. This sturdy, eye-catching perennial stands about 3-4 feet tall.
One problem worth noting is “aster yellows,” which is a virus-like disease caused by a phytoplasma. It causes deformed flowers and yellow leaves with green veins. The organism is spread leafhoppers and can also be spread on pruners during deadheading. There’s no cure, so if you notice a plant is infected, throw it away immediately. Other problems to watch out for are leaf miners, powdery mildew, bacterial spots, gray mold, vine weevils, and Japanese beetles.

Pruning

Spread: Up to 70 cm
Deadhead coneflowers throughout the summer and early fall when the flowers wither or dry up. Cut them off from about 1/4 inch above the closest flower buds with pruning shears.

Considerations

It is one of the longest-blooming plants in the perennial border.
Native to Canada

Styling and Use

Echinacea is the perfect flower to plant in a garden, because the bright colors really pop against green foliage. They create an impressive display of color, especially when planted among shorter perennials where the showy, purple, pink and white flowers stand above other foliage.
Consider Achillea, Black Eyed Susans, Monarda and catmint. Also with herbs and vegetables including eggplant, broccoli, brussell sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chillies, peppers and tomatoes.

Other

Several laboratory and animal studies suggest that echinacea contains active substances that boost immune function, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects.

History

Prairie First Nations used coneflower for many different medicinal purposes, including the treatment of headaches, toothaches, and swollen glands, as well as for insect bites and stings. Settlers adopted the plant as a remedy for a wide range of ills, both for themselves and for their livestock.

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