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Publication #FPS192

Echinacea purpurea Purple Coneflower1

Edward F. Gilman2


Formerly known as Rudbeckia purpurea, purple coneflower displays wonderful daisy-like, pink flowers on top of strong, hairy stems that stand against the wind and rain (Fig. 1). Flowers stand 2- to 4-feet-tall, well above the medium-green foliage. The large flowers have a dark purple center with a variety of outer-flower colors from pink and lavender to purple. Flowers appear in spring and summer in central Florida and in the summer elsewhere in the eastern U.S. There is nothing quite like a purple coneflower in bloom.

Figure 1. 

Purple coneflower.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Echinacea purpurea
Pronunciation: eck-kin-NAY-see-uh pur-PURE-ee-uh
Common name(s): purple coneflower
Family: Compositae
Plant type: herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: 4 through 10 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: naturalizing; cut flowers; edging; attracts butterflies; mass planting
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Plant habit: oval; upright
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: coarse


Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: serrate
Leaf shape: lanceolate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: pink; lavender; purple
Flower characteristic: summer flowering; spring flowering


Fruit shape: unknown
Fruit length: unknown
Fruit cover: unknown
Fruit color: unknown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: medium


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun; plant grows in the shade
Soil tolerances: well-drained; occasionally wet; acidic; slightly alkaline; loam; clay
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches


Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more
Invasive potential: aggressive, spreading plant
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

The stiff appearance of purple coneflower contrasts well with the softness of other perennials and other fine-textured plants. The plant attracts much attention due to the wonderful flower and makes a nice component in a mixed perennial border. It is especially useful in light shade in summer, where protection from afternoon sun enhances flower and foliage color. It is fairly tolerant of drought in the partial shade, less so in full sun.

Clumps of purple coneflower should be divided every few years to help keep plants blooming. Growers also propagate by root cuttings. Coneflowers with white flowers also exist.

Roots have been used to treat rabies, snakebites, skin diseases, and other ailments.

Pests and Diseases

Purple coneflower can be moderately to severely infested with sweet potato whitefly.

Japanese beetle in northern gardens eat foliage and disfigure plants. Leaf spots can be a problem any place the plant is grown.



This document is FPS192, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.