Plant Profile: Echinacea purpurea for your edible (medicinal) landscape

Echinacea purpurea

 

Echinacea purpurea planted with Liatris spicata in an early summer garden at the Drew Charter School.

 

 

[This article published in Georgia Gardening Magazine Sept 2014 edition]

Echinacea purpurea is native to a wide range of ecosystems from the northeast, midwest and southeast.  It’s a highly beneficial and beautiful plant that deserves widespread use.

A hardy perennial in zones 4-9, it’s tolerant of a fairly wide range of conditions.  Generally, it’s found in poor, sandy and drier soils, but it is quite content in predominantly clay soils and even in occasional wet sides, such as along detention pond edges.  In the garden, it reseeds readily but is not aggressive.  Planted along a rustic fence is a natural application in the landscape, as the fence provides structure for its sometimes loose habit, and it naturalizes along the fence nicely. In wildlife garden or meadow, it’s gorgeous interplanted with goldenrod (Solidago), switchgrass (Panicum), false indigo (Baptisia) and native milkweed (Asclepias).  Pollinators find this plant attractive and birds feed on the seeds in winter, so be sure to leave the seed pods through early the following spring.  Cutting back in early spring, once per year, and dividing like most perennials every other fall or so are the primary maintenance requirements.

 

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