All About Purple ConeflowersThe Purple Coneflower or Echinacea is another perennial that is easy to grow and care for. Similar in appearance to the Black-eyed Susan, it grows to 3 or 4 feet in height, and produces blossoms 4 to 5 inches across. Traditionally, the Coneflower is seen in a purple-pink hue, but it is also available in white and yellow. It is perfect for borders and wildflower gardens, and makes a colorful addition to a vase of cut flowers. Many people grow it for its medicinal properties, and others enjoy it because it attracts butterflies.
Growing Purple ConeflowersChoose a sunny location with soil that drains well. Coneflowers can be grown from seeds or plants purchased in garden centers. If you are using plants, set them into the ground at the same depth as their dirt enclosure. Space them 12 to 15 inches apart and water well. If you are using seeds, sow them in soil about ¼ inch deep a few inches apart. Thin them to 12 to 15 inches when they are a couple of inches tall. Whether you choose seeds or plants, you can plant in the spring for a crop that same year or late summer for a crop the following year. Although the Purple Coneflower is not a particularly temperamental plant, and will probably thrive with little care, it will suffer in heavy wet soil. Keep it watered until it becomes established, but then only water if the summer is unusually dry. Deadheading (removing the faded flowers) will improve the appearance and may result in a second blossoming. However, if you leave a few of the flowers, the seeds will self-sow, and you will be rewarded with more coneflowers.
Coneflowers should be dug up and separated every few years when they become too crowded for their space. Be careful when you are digging them up that you don't damage the root system, and make sure that each section has healthy roots.