Echinacea or Purple Coneflower is hardy perennial member of the daisy family that grows in zones 3 to 9. It will grow up to two feet tall with heads four inches across. This gorgeous flower comes in a variety of colors. The original nine species have been cross bred to create a huge variety of hybrids that would look great in any garden. The Purple Coneflower version is generally what we find growing wild along roadsides in NWA.
Echinacea is very hardy withstanding drought, full sun and heat making it a great choice to grow in xeriscapes, meadows, or to use as a border flower. If it is planted in fertile well drained soil with lots of sunlight it will go crazy and produces a ton of brilliant blooms all summer long.
Blooming from June to September Echinacea will attract pollinating bees or beautiful butterflies and birds to your garden. If you can keep the birds away from the seeds until the flowers begin to dry out the seeds will drop and reproduce again for years to come.
Echinacea was used by the Great Plains Indians as a medicinal herb, it is believed to have antibacterial properties. Today it sold as a supplement in many vitamin aisles and can also be found in cough drops. Echinacea has been used to treat anything from the common cold to inflammation and even HPV. A lot of people have even begun taking it help boost their immune systems at the first sign of a cold. Please always consult a doctor before taking any new kind of medication.
The Purple Coneflower is a gorgeous plant with many uses that I hope to see more of in the future.