Complementary Plants for Coneflowers: Enhancing Your Garden with the Perfect Flowering Companions


If you’re wondering how to best choose companion plants for coneflowers (Echinacea spp.), there are a variety of options that can enhance the beauty and overall health of your garden. One good option is to plant coneflowers with other native wildflowers. For example, the vibrant purple blossoms of Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ can be paired with the dainty blue flowers of Campanula carpatica for a stunning combination.

Another great choice is to surround your coneflowers with aromatic herbs, such as oregano or lavender. Not only do these plants provide a beautiful contrast in foliage, but they also attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies. The herbs’ fragrance can also deter pests like deer. For a splash of color and contrast, you can try planting coneflowers near the bright blooms of Tickseed (Coreopsis spp.) or the delicate bell-shaped flowers of Gentiana scabra.

When it comes to coneflower companions, it’s important to choose plants that have similar growing needs. Coneflowers prefer full sun and well-draining soil, so it’s best to select companion plants that have the same requirements. They also tend to be drought-tolerant, so be sure to choose plants that can handle dry conditions.

Purple Coneflowers: Native Grace and Beauty in the Garden

Purple coneflowers, or Echinacea purpurea, are stunning native plants that bring an abundance of grace and beauty to any garden. These flowering perennials are known for their vibrant purple petals that surround a cone-shaped center. They are not only visually striking but also attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making them a valuable addition to any garden ecosystem.

One of the many benefits of purple coneflowers is their ability to thrive in a wide range of conditions. They can withstand heat, drought, and even some colder temperatures, making them a versatile choice for almost any garden. They are also relatively disease-resistant, although they may attract aphids or other pests from time to time. By planting them near other beneficial plants, such as phlox or Heuchera cultivars, you can create a natural pest control system, as these plants deter common garden pests.

Purple coneflowers prefer to be planted in well-draining soil with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. They should be watered thoroughly after planting, and then you can decrease watering to once every few weeks as they establish themselves. These perennials have long taproots that allow them to access water and nutrients deep within the soil, which makes them relatively low-maintenance once they’re established. However, they can benefit from a regular pruning to remove spent flowers and promote new growth.

In addition to their stunning appearance, purple coneflowers also have medicinal properties. For centuries, they have been used by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments and illnesses. The roots of the plant are considered particularly potent and can be used to make teas or topical ointments. It’s no wonder that purple coneflowers have been a popular herbal remedy for centuries.

If you’re considering adding purple coneflowers to your garden, it’s important to note that they have a long blooming season. Their flowers can last for several weeks, providing a beautiful display throughout the summer. The flowers are not only attractive to humans but also act as a valuable food source for birds and other wildlife. In the fall, as the flowers start to fade, you can collect the seed heads and use them to propagate new plants or leave them to provide food for wildlife during the winter months.

When deciding where to plant purple coneflowers, keep in mind that they look best when grouped with other wildflowers or perennials. Their vibrant colors and unique shape create a striking contrast with other plants and add a touch of natural beauty to any landscape. Whether you’re creating a formal garden or a more casual wildflower meadow, purple coneflowers are sure to become a focal point.

All in all, purple coneflowers are a beautiful and low-maintenance addition to any garden. Their hardiness, long-lasting flowers, and ability to attract pollinators make them a valuable asset to both experienced gardeners and beginners alike. So, why not add a splash of native grace and beauty to your garden by planting some purple coneflowers this season?

When it comes to planting Echinacea Purple Coneflowers in your garden, it’s a good idea to consider adding some companion plants to enhance their beauty and attract pollinators. Here are some popular options:

Asters: Asters (Aster spp.) are a great choice as they bloom at the same time as Purple Coneflowers. They come in a variety of colors, including blue and purple, and they thrive in the same sunlight and water requirements as coneflowers.

Black Eyed Susan: Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida) is another native perennial that pairs well with coneflowers. Its bright yellow flowers complement the purple blooms of Echinacea, and it also attracts butterflies with its nectar.

Monarda: Monarda, also known as Bee Balm, is a flowering plant that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies with its vibrant blooms. It comes in a variety of colors, including red, pink, and purple, making it a perfect companion for Purple Coneflowers.

Daylilies: Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are a popular choice because of their long-lasting blooms and low maintenance. Their flowers come in a wide range of colors and complement the purple coneflowers nicely.

Phlox: Phlox is a perennial with clusters of fragrant flowers in various colors, including white, pink, purple, and blue. It blooms in early summer, which makes it an ideal companion for Echinacea Purple Coneflowers.

Penstemon: Penstemon is a versatile plant that offers several varieties to choose from. They come in a range of colors and bloom from early summer to fall, providing a long-lasting partnership with coneflowers.

Moonflowers: Moonflowers (Ipomoea alba) are nocturnal plants that bloom at night and attract pollinators like moths and bats. Their white, fragrant flowers make a striking contrast to the purple coneflowers.

It’s important to note that while these plants are recommended companions for Echinacea Purple Coneflowers, they may have specific sunlight, water, and soil requirements. It’s essential to research each plant’s needs before planting them together to ensure their compatibility.

David’s Favorite Varieties of Purple Coneflower

David has a deep appreciation for the beauty and versatility of the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). He loves to experiment with different companion plants to create stunning and harmonious plantings. Here are some of his favorite varieties of purple coneflower:

  • Echinacea purpurea: This is the classic and most commonly known variety of purple coneflower. It is a fast-growing perennial that produces vibrant pinkish-purple flowers. It pairs well with a wide range of companions, including Monarda (Bee Balm) and Gaillardia (Blanket Flower). However, it is best to avoid planting it with plants that require plastic water, as coneflowers prefer their soil to be well-drained.
  • Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’: This variety is a popular choice among gardeners due to its larger and more robust flowers. Its lavender-pink petals and dark orange centers make for a striking display. David recommends planting it with other purple or blue companions, such as Oregano ‘Hummelo’ or Catmint (Nepeta spp.).
  • Echinacea purpurea ‘Fragrant Angel’: As the name suggests, this variety has a delightful fragrance in addition to its beautiful white petals and orange cone. It is a great choice for attracting pollinators to the garden.
  • Echinacea purpurea ‘Ruby Star’: This variety stands out with its vibrant ruby red flowers. It adds a bold and eye-catching element to any planting scheme.
  • Echinacea purpurea ‘Peppermint Patty’: With its unique bi-colored petals, this coneflower variety adds an interesting twist to any garden. Its petals are a mix of pink and white, creating a peppermint-like appearance.
  • Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Envy’: David especially loves this variety for its green petals and contrasting brownish-green center. It’s a great choice if you want to create a more unusual and distinctive planting.

When selecting companion plants for purple coneflowers, David suggests considering their hardiness, growth habit, and watering needs. He also advises deadheading coneflowers to encourage continuous blooming and to prevent self-seeding. Surrounding coneflowers with plants like Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan) or Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) helps to deter pests such as aphids.

If you have a smaller garden space or want to create a stunning focal point, David recommends grouping different coneflower varieties together. This creates a beautiful tapestry of colors and textures.

David’s favorite companion plants for purple coneflower include:

  • Monarda (Bee Balm)
  • Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
  • Oregano ‘Hummelo’
  • Catmint (Nepeta spp.)
  • Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
  • Stachys (Lamb’s Ear)
  • Tickseed (Coreopsis)

If you’re new to growing purple coneflowers, here are some FAQs to help you get started:

  1. What is the best time to plant purple coneflowers? Purple coneflowers are best planted in the spring, after the last frost has passed. This gives them enough time to establish their root systems before the hot summer months.
  2. How much water do purple coneflowers need? Purple coneflowers are drought-tolerant plants and do not require excessive watering. Water them deeply once a week during dry periods, and avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.
  3. What are some common pests and diseases for purple coneflowers? Some common pests that may affect purple coneflowers include aphids and Japanese beetles. To prevent these pests, companion planting with other pest-repellent plants like Rudbeckia or Catmint can be helpful. Coneflowers are also prone to fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew. Providing good air circulation and avoiding overhead watering can help prevent these diseases.

With their vibrant colors, long bloom periods, and attractive seed heads, purple coneflowers are a beautiful addition to any garden. By carefully selecting companion plants and taking proper care of your coneflowers, you can create a stunning and thriving garden that will bring you joy for many years to come.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.