Echinacea or coneflower as it is commonly known is not only a beautiful native perennial, it has also been used as an herbal remedy for generations. The purple coneflower was used by the plains Indians and early settlers for internal illnesses such as the common cold or upset stomach. External wounds were often treated with salves made from the plant. Teas made with the leaves and petals have been thought to boost the immune system and fight off viral infections as well. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties as well. While science has studied these claims for many years their findings have been less than impressive. In spite of this, many still depend on its healing power in the form of supplements added to their daily diet. However, you should discuss it with your doctor before taking any herbal derivative as it may interfere with any other drugs you may be taking.
If you decide to add a coneflower to your perennial or pollinator garden you will not be disappointed with the results. With big beautiful flowers, they will have the bees, butterflies, and birds visiting you often. They will grow best in full sun with well-drained soil. Fertilize lightly.
If you pinch off spent blooms often you will encourage new blooms throughout the summer. If you cut the plants back by one third about halfway through the summer it will generate new blooms late summer into early fall.
Tickseed is named such because of the resemblance of its seeds to ticks. The seeds are a favorite of the goldfinch in the fall and winter and the flowers are a favorite of many pollinators throughout the summer.
These gorgeous summer bloomers love poor well-drained soil and are still surprisingly drought tolerant once established.
Mulch well in the winter and say hello again in the spring.