The purple form of coneflower is the most common of this variety of flower, but there are other colors coming into prominence as this easy-to-care-for flower becomes a popular fixture in gardens. These flowers look like black-eyed Susans, but with different colored petals.
Coneflowers typically have flowers about 4 inches in size with dark centers. The petals droop slightly downward from the center. Purple is the primary color, but pink, magenta and white forms are also available.
These perennial plants generally grow in a clump with stems that have few leaves on them. It may take two to three years for the plant to produce this clump. The flowers can be divided and replanted after they are established in the ground for two to three years.
Coneflowers prefer full sun and soil that is well-drained. In areas that have hot summers, they may do well in partial shade. These flowers tolerate drought, but thrive best with moderate watering. Plants should be spaced about 12 to 14 inches apart.
Coneflowers generally bloom in the late summer, with the blooms continuing through mid-autumn. In addition to dividing the clumps to propogate more flowers, gardeners can allow the flowers to dry and then use the seeds in the middle part to grow new plants the following spring.
Bees and butterflies are attacted to the flower. Birds often eat the seeds after the plants have dried out.