How to grow and care for coneflowers
Coneflowers are a weedy flowing plant that belongs to the family Asteraceae, the common name for most Echinacea species is ‘purple coneflowers’. Echinacea purpurea was the original coneflower that was discovered by European explorers in the forest of the southeastern US in the 17 century and in 1699 was sent to England.
The purple coneflower was believed to be popular in European gardens as an ornamental plant as well as a medical herb. This perennial plant is native to eastern and central North America.
What makes the coneflower a gardener’s favorite is its ability to withstand the heat as well as drought, attracts pollinators and birds, ease of growth, and blooms for months, and can also be used as cut flowers. The coneflower is a must and will go to work for you. For more on how to grow and care for coneflower let’s take a closer look.
The planting location
The planting location should receive 6-8 hours of sunlight, in warmer regions zones 8 and higher with a bit of afternoon shade which will also benefit coneflowers by keeping the blooms from fading.
The soil type
Coneflowers can survive in a variety of soils that include sandy, rocky, and clay with a ph of about 6.5-7.0. Coneflowers don’t like soils that are waterlogged or mucky.
Medium moist to dry is best for coneflowers, allowing the soil to dry between watering however is ideal.
A granular slow-release fertilizer (12-6-6) in early spring will give good results. Before applying fertilizer read and follow the manufactures directions for the best results.
Garden insect pests
Keep a watch for these insect pests and treat them as followed.
- Aphids- These garden pests suck nutrients from plants, the use of insecticidal soap or a strong spray of water from a garden hose will bring control.
- Eriophyid mites- Lives on the inside of the flower where they feed, damage includes distorted flowers and stunted growth. The use of insecticidal soap will bring control.
- Sweet potato whiteflies- lives on the underside of the leaves where they suck the plant’s juice. Yellowing of the leaves and sooty mold is also another sign of these pests. The use of insecticidal soap will eliminate them.
- Japanese beetles- Cause destruction by feeding on the plant’s leaves, these beetles appear within the month of June. Beetles can be handpicked and thrown in a bucket of soapy water.
Diseases of coneflower are as followed.
- Aster yellow- This is encouraged by poor growing conditions or insect pests. Plants that are infected have stunted growth, while the flowers become distorted and turn a green color. Remove plants that show these signs and properly dispose of them.
- Stem rot- occurs because of overwatering, remember coneflowers don’t like wet feet so proper water management is important. Remember to allow the soil to dry out between watering.
- Powdery Mildew- Is caused by poor air circulation and excessive moisture, controlling moisture along with the proper spacing of plants will give good results.
Deadheading will keep your coneflowers growing nice with a healthy appearance causing coneflower to produce more flower bloom. Flowers that are faded can be removed with a hand pruner.
When deadheading what you want is to remove the old flowers and their stems. Follow the dead flower head down to the stem, the cut should be made one-quarter to one-half inch above a lower branch junction where other flower stems arise.
Where to install
- Coneflowers can be planted in masses in garden beds.
- Plant coneflowers around the trunk of trees.
- Use them as a backdrop in garden beds.
- Try them as a foundation planting.
- Install coneflowers along a garden path walkway.
- Plant coneflowers alongside a fence.
- Plant coneflowers alongside a wall.
The final word on the care of coneflowers
The coneflower is amazing and will go to work for you, this low-maintenance plant is a delight as it colors your garden while attracting pollinators and wildlife. What better way to have your garden buzzing with excitement and teaming with wildlife. Give the coneflower a try and bring great change into your garden and landscapes.