An easy to care for perennial to add to your flower garden is the coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. The daisy-like flowers stand tall above the foliage on sturdy 2 to 4 foot stems. Blooms appear about the last part of April or the first of May in the Florida panhandle and last throughout the warm season until late fall. This Florida native reliably comes back year after year. Plant coneflower in part to full sun in rich but well-drained soil for best results.
Coneflowers are traditionally purple but many new colors and variations of their form have become available from the horticultural industry. You can find them in white, yellows, pinks, oranges, and greens as well as all shades of lavender and purple. No matter what color you choose, the blooms will attract a host of butterflies and other pollinating insects. In order to protect these delicate creatures, avoid the use of pesticides when they are present.
Once you have a few coneflowers, you will notice that the clumps will grow in time and new plants will sprout from seeds left behind by the spent blooms. In our demonstration garden, this has created a stunning display that has been allowed to take over one of the garden beds. When any one clump gets too big, the number of blooms can decrease and it may be time to dig up the clump and divide it. This is a great opportunity to expand your coneflower bed or share them with some friends or neighbors!
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