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Growing Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pupurea)

A favorite food source for birds in winter, butterflies, bees and hummingbirds in summer, the native purple coneflower has found its way into home gardens.

Purple daisy like flowers top 3 to 4 feet tall plants for several months from mid to late summer and often into fall. Cut plants back halfway early in the season to encourage more compact growth and to delay flowering.

Hardy in zones 4 to 8, it prefers full to part sun and fertile loamy soil. It is adaptable and can be grown in clay and drier conditions.

Purple coneflower combines nicely with a wide variety of native and non-native plants. Prairie dropseed, switchgrass, little bluestem and other native and ornamental grasses make nice partners. The purple flowers look great with orange blooms of butterfly weed, purple flowers of liatris and Russian sage.

A bit more information: Pruning early in the season can help you add a new dimension to your purple coneflower display. Prune the outermost plants to create shorter stiffer plants that serve as a living support for the taller ones. These also bloom later, extending the floral display.

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