Coneflowers (Echinacea) are herbaceous perennials in the daisy family (Asteraceae). The genus name, Echinacea, is the Greek word for hedgehog, referring to the flowers’ spiny center disks. Two common coneflower varieties are the yellow coneflower (ehinacea paradoxa) and the purple coneflower (echinacea purpurea). They often attract butterflies.
Yellow coneflowers bloom with orangish-yellow flowers with large, copper to dark brown central disks. Purple coneflowers feature pinkish-purple petals surrounding large, brown center disks.
Both yellow and purple coneflowers bloom from June through August. The months of June and July typically offer the best flower displays.
Purple coneflowers bloom on stems ranging from 2 to 5 feet in height, while yellow coneflowers typically stand 2 to 3 feet tall. The purple variety forms a club up to 2 feet across and the yellow variety spreads 1-1/2 feet.
Purple coneflowers are native to the prairies and woods of the Eastern United States (U.S.) and thrive in USDA zones 3 to 8. Yellow coneflowers primarily grow in the Ozark regions and are winter hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8.
Coneflowers are low-maintenance plants with medium watering needs. Purple coneflowers thrive in fully sunny to partly shady locations, while the yellow coneflowers grow best in full sun. They will self-seed and multiply around the area you plant the original plant if you leave the seed head in place.
Purple and yellow coneflowers contrast with each other nicely in borders, wildflower gardens and prairie gardens.