Echinacea

Echinacea purpurea

Cone Flower, Purple Cone Flower, Black Samson, Comb Flower, Hedgehog, Indian Head, Rudbeckia, Sampson Head, Scurvy Root, Snakeroot

1 of 5
1 of 5
Echinacea purpurea is widely renowned as a medicinal plant. The genus Echinacea is named after the Greek word for hedgehog, echinos, because of the prickly centre of the flower. The pretty, daisy-like purple-pink flowers are attractive to butterflies and other pollinating wildlife, they are produced singly and individual flowers measure approximately 12cm in diameter. Flowers consist of purple-pink ray florets and brown central disc florets. Commonly known as coneflower, this species is a long-flowering perennial that is well-placed in borders. To encouraged delayed blooming for autumn, cut plants back by half in early summer.

Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Harvest flowers and leaves throughout the summer months and plant roots during autumn. Cut flowers in the plants 2nd year, strip leaves & flower heads & spread to dry. Store the dried coneflowers & leaves in a sealed container in a cool, dark & dry place until use.

Propagation

Seed

Sow in Spring and Summer with a spacing between 30 - 40 cm. Sow about 6 - 8 mm deep and it will germinate in 14 - 21 days.

Cuttings

Make root cuttings in late autumn or early winter.

Division

Divide the root ball during domancy or as it start to send up shoots, but they resent a lot of disturbance.

Special features

Attracts useful insects

Attracts insects like bees and butterflies.

Crop rotation

Light feeder

Attractive flowers

Flowers may be light to dark pink, white, red and purple.

Special features

Origin

North America.

Natural climate

Warm to hot with cold winters

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Chalk, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Acid, Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Medicinal

Alleviates skin rashes and boost the immune system - effective against colds and flu. Promoters of Echinacea say that the herb encourages the immune system and reduces many of the symptoms of colds, flu and some other illnesses, infections, and conditions.

Notes

This late summer flower suits informal borders in cottage/wildlife friendly or prairie gardens.

Personality

Family

Asteraceae

Flower colour

Pink, Purple, White

Scent

Mild

Problems

Pests include leaf miners and weevils (on leaves). Powdery mildew, Bacterial leaf spots, Aster Yellows is transmitted to the plant as leaf hoppers feed on the plant (affecting the flower,stunting its growth) can be avoided by planting flowers in a well ventilated area with good air flow. Severely infected plants should be discarded.