Echinacea – also known as coneflower – is a terrific perennial for Michigan flower beds.
Beautiful, butterfly attracting, deer resistant flowers bloom most of the summer in sunny locations. New colors and new varieties make this plant one of the best choices.
Echinacea sounds more like a disease than a plant you would want in your garden. And if you read the Wikipedia description, it still seems like something to stay away from. Maybe that’s why people commonly refer to it as Coneflower. In spite of its name, it’s a great plant!
Coneflower performs best in full locations is drought tolerant, easy to grow, helps pollinators and can be used for medicinal purposes. They enjoy being planted with other drought tolerant perennials including sedum, rudbeckia and daylilies. Coneflowers tend to be pretty care free in the garden but do benefit when you prune off the dead flowers and/or cut the blooms to use as cut flowers. The few times I have seen them not looking good in the garden is when they are planted in a part-sun to shade area or a place where they are getting too wet.
Coneflowers are a good source of food for pollinators – especially bees. Bees are an imporant part of our environment because they help move pollen from one plant to another which is necessary for the food we eat and the natural ecosystem. Bees have struggled recently in Michigan and are less abundant than before. Confeflowers are one of several flowers that are helpful to bees and therfore helping to our natural world.
Native Americans used coneflowers for medicinal reasons. I would recommend being very careful before you start trying to plant confeflowers to make your own herbal remedies. I came across a website that has some interesting information on medicinal uses and some instructional videos. Take a look at the Garden Guides website link attached. http://www.gardenguides.com/8-echinacea-pretty-flower.html.
There are several new varieties of coneflower that are interesting. Magnus is still the most popular variety as far as I know. It was the Perennial Plant of the Year in 1998. Magnus and most of the traditional varieties of coneflower get tall enough that they do best as the plant in the back of the garden. Pow Wow was introduced this year and is very nice because it’s a little shorter with more flowers which makes it a great choice for the main flowerbed. Coneflowers are traditionally purple /pink but are now available in a cream, yellow, and orange colors.