The beautiful, daisy-like flowers of coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) make it a must-have for any perennial bed. However, coneflowers aren’t just pretty – they also attract both butterflies and birds to your garden.
Coneflowers get their name from their ‘cone-shaped’ center. Like most of my favorite plants – coneflowers aren’t fussy. They aren’t particularly bothered by pests and do not require any fertilizer. All they ask for is well-drained soil, a spot in the sun and regular watering. They are native to the United States and are easy to grow in zones 3 – 8 (I have grown it in my zone 9 garden with success as well).
Coneflowers attract all types of butterflies, including Fritillaries, Monarchs, Painted Ladies and Swallowtails, who feed on the sweet nectar.
Birds also enjoy coneflowers in the garden. Blue Jays, Cardinals and Goldfinches enjoy eating the seeds from spent flowers. Don’t prune off the dead flowers. Instead, let them stand throughout winter, where they will offer food to hungry birds. Once spring arrives, simply cut back your coneflowers to the ground. They will soon grow back to bloom in summer.
Coneflowers, are available in a variety of colors. In addition to lavender, you can find them in white, yellow, orange, red and green colors. You can learn more about the different colored varieties in this Birds & Blooms article: “Top 10 Coneflowers”.
So, if your perennial garden has a few bare spots to fill, (or even if it doesn’t), plant some coneflowers in your favorite color and enjoy the butterflies and birds that it is sure to attract!