Echinacea pallida – PALE PURPLE CONEFLOWER

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Long-lived perennial with tap root, narrow hairy leaves and slender habitus. Rosy-pink, sometimes more or less pale flower with drooping petals and orange-greenish centers. Heat and humidity tolerant, also drought tolerant perennial. Flowers 2 to 4 weeks earlier than purple cone flower (Echinacea purpurea). Flowers can be slightly fragrant.

Important medical plant, used by Native American and nowadays too - it used to prevent and treat the common cold, flu, and upper respiratory tract infections. It is also used to increase general immune system function and to treat urinary tract infections.

Due to it’s natural look, the best is to plant several plants or masses in somewhat natural looking flowers beds, drier prairie plantings or for naturalizing. The best if combined with fine flowering grasses - for example Stipa tenuissima, Sporobolus heterolepis!!!

For other good perennial combinations add native perennials like Artemisia ludoviciana, Agastache (‘Blue Fortune’ , A. nepetoides), Asclepias tuberosa, Baptisia, Callirhoe, Eryngium juccifolium, Penstemon, Pycnanthemum, Liatris, Silphium terenbinthinaceum or bigger grasses like Panicum virgatum. Somehow this Echinacea looks good when combined with plants that remind of “thistle”, so these non-native perennials – any Eryngium (E. planum, E. giganteum,…), Echinops, Knautia macedonica, but also with Geranium sanquineum, Perovskia or Salvia nemorosa.

Blooming time : main flowering period is June – July, blooming naturally continues till September, but with small amount of flowers. Deadheading can extend bloom period, but it will remove the desirable seed. 

Size : 3’ high x 1-1.5’ wide

USDA zones : 3 to 8

Culture: sun, half sun (adaptable to half shade too, but sunny spot is the best). Average garden soil, drained soil, rocky soil, poor soil, infertile and sand soil. Avoid moist and poorly drained soils!

Moisture Needs : dry, medium-dry, medium

Origin: native wildflower to Eastern and central North America from Wisconsin and Michigan south to Texas and Louisiana. Also native in Ontario and scattered in a few eastern states between Maine and Georgia. Naturally in dry to mesic black soil prairies, gravel prairies, openings in dry rocky woods, oak savannas, limestone glades, abandoned fields, open areas along railroads.

Deer/rabbit resistant : yes/yes (coarse leaves may still be palatable to cattle)

Attracts Butterflies or Pollinators : several long and short-tongued native bees, incl. bumble bees, honey bees, butterflies, and skippers. The caterpillars of the Silvery Checkerspot butterfly feed on the foliage, caterpillars of the Wavy-Lined Emerald moth and Common Eupithecia moth feed on the flowerheads.

Attracts Hummingbirds : occasionally hummingbird feed on the nectar, goldfinches occasionally eat the seeds

Pot Size : 3.5" perennial pot (1.22 pt/580 ml)