Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower

purple coneflowerWhat is the most popular perennial sold in the United States today?

It’s the native Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).

Scan piano

It’s been in gardens as long as I can remember.  When I was a child, we had a long flower border that divided the front yard with its well-cared for croquet lawn from the back yard with the vegetable gardens, my sandbox and swing, the clothes line, the garbage can, and the garage.  The border contained mostly what other people had given to my grandmother, whose house it was before it was my parent/s house.  There were a few Purple Coneflowers, which were then classified as Rudbeckia, rather than Echinacea.  Sharing the garden were Field Daisies, Hollyhocks, Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris, Creeping Buttercup, Poppies, Peonies, and the Firecracker Plant, so-named because it’s red pom-pom flowers resembled lady firecrackers.

One cannot walk anyplace on my property without seeing a patch of Purple Coneflowers.  I believe it was Marianne Nelson who gave me a few plants many years ago and they have multiplied, flourishing throughout the gardens.

tiger swallowtail

My house, 2007.  Purple Coneflower and Joe Pye Weed (Echinacea purpurea) are the best butterfly attractants in my gardens.


rattlesnake master and purple cone flower2008 A long border on a large property west of St. Charles.  The prickly globular button blossoms of Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium  yuccifolium) echo the prickly center cones of the Purple Cone Flower.


mwgc blue  agastache

2008 Midwest Groundcovers. The spikes of Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ in the background contrast nicely with the daisies of Purple Coneflower.

purple and white coneflower

Midwest Groundcovers again.  Purple Coneflower and a white Echinacea purpurea.   Prairie Petunia (Ruellia humilis) in the foreground.

pcf  cbg

2009 Prairie Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden

michelle pcf

2009  Front foundation planting at a house west of Dundee.  Prairie Baby’s Breath (Euphorbia corollata)  in the foreground, Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) in back.

purple cf & red admiral

2014 Red Admiral on Purple Coneflower in my garden.

Tami's garden

Combine Purple Coneflower  with Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) and Summer Beauty Onion (Allium ‘Summer Beauty) for a striking picture.  My son and daughter-in-law’s garden.

pcf and royal

2014 my yard again.  Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) adds pizazz to any planting.

Side Yard

2015 My side yard.  Purple Coneflower with Showy Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia speciosa var. sullivantii).

Are Purple Coneflowers really native to our area?  I’ve never seen one in the wild.  The answer is yes; they are found in Bur Oak savannas or in railroad prairie remnants, according to Plants of the Chicago Region.

What about your gardens?  Do  you grow Purple Coneflower?  What are its companions?




, ,

12 Responses to Purple Coneflower

  1. Christa July 30, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    Pat – Love that picture of a young you in the garden…a treasure! Thanks for sharing the Midwest photos on this post – we would love to have you come for a visit to see how the gardens are growing. Best, Christa

    • Pat Hill August 4, 2015 at 7:48 am #

      I’ll be by this week to pick up an order–I’ll be sure to bring my camera.

  2. Susan T. July 30, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    I most loved the picture of you as a girl. We change so much and yet are always young at heart. Thats why I love the Wild ones, just a bunch of children playing in the dirt. Now I see the early glimmer shine bright that takes us into the woods

  3. Pat Hill July 30, 2015 at 10:21 am #

    Thank you so much, Susan. I have a lot of childhood photos and am working on a memoir.

  4. Sue Harney July 30, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    The Dixie Briggs Nature Preserve, enter at Wynnfield Drive or Nottinghill dr. in Algonquin, has a newly developing prairie along Wynnfield full of Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susans and other prairie plants. PC a great flower. We’re seeing more Monarchs and Monarch eggs on Milkweed too. Loved your pictures.

    • Pat Hill July 30, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

      Good to know, Sue. For you readers that live in the area, sounds like a great place to visit.

  5. ambien0 August 1, 2015 at 8:40 am #

    I also enjoyed the photo of you as a young girl. Was it taken after church on Sunday? That would have been the only day you’d get me in a dress in my back yard!

    I only have E. pallida in my prairie which I much prefer. I love the way the seedheads hold up during the season and through winter too. In the garden I have added E. paradoxa — lovely — and E. ‘Rocky Top Hybrids’ — not sure about those yet.

    • Pat Hill August 4, 2015 at 7:45 am #

      The picture was taken before my piano recital. The dress was white dotted Swiss–maybe no one knows what “dotted Swiss” is anymore–with an Irish lace collar. I’m sure it was a very expensive dress, beyond our means. I also had on white “Mary Jane” shoes–I was thrilled–they were the only Mary Jane’s I ever had. I always had to wear oxfords.

  6. Jason August 12, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

    Beautiful! We saw Royal Catchfly at the Chicago Botanic Garden in the native plant garden – it really does add excitement, plus there was a hummingbird feeding on it.

    • Pat Hill August 20, 2015 at 9:37 am #

      Chicago Botanic Garden had a huge display of Royal Catchfly last time I was there. I would like to buy more, but, alas, it is endangered in Illinois and not available here.

  7. Susan Moynihan August 20, 2015 at 7:23 am #

    Thank you for sharing your lovely photos and information. I have a few patches of the Purple Coneflower but my favorite patch has diminished greatly this year. Do you have any idea as to why? It is in a lot of sun and has well amended soil. Am I being too good to them?

    • Pat Hill August 20, 2015 at 9:29 am #

      Is it a “straight species”? If not, many cultivars are not long-lived. Other than that, I don’t have any idea why it would decline. We have had two cool and rainy summers in a row–perhaps that is a factor.

Leave a Reply


Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes