Purple coneflowers are a perennial native to North America. The plant's scientific name is Echinacea purpurea. Alternative names include Kansas snakeroot, scurvy root, Indian head, hedge hog and comb flower. Coneflowers are in the sunflower family and are related to the daisy. While purple is the most common color of coneflowers and the easiest to propagate, coneflowers also come in yellow, white, pale pink, deep pink and orange. The plant is viable in USDA zones three to eight. They can grow to be 3 to 4 feet tall with a width of 2 to 3 feet. The more mature the plant, the taller and wider it will become.
Locate a spot to plant your purple coneflowers. Coneflowers can grow in sunny locations. However, plants in areas that receive partial shade seem to grow taller and have brighter flowers. Plant in the spring after the threat of frost has passed in your growing region. Opt for planting locations that have well-draining soil. Coneflowers do not like clay soil or soil that is consistently wet. These types of soil are too heavy.
Dig holes for your coneflowers 3 to 4 inches deeper and wider than the containers that the plants are encased in. Remove any rocks that may be visible in the hole to allow the plant roots to have unencumbered growing space. If you are planting a clump of coneflowers, allow a spacing of 15 to 20 inches between each plant.
Sprinkle a handful of peat moss or compost into the bottom of the holes. This will enable the soil to retain moisture, and it will give the growing area a boost of nutrients.
Remove the plants from their containers and place them in the holes. Backfill the holes with the soil and gently tamp down the soil to ensure that no air pockets remain around the roots.
Water the plants and plan to water sparingly in the future. Purple coneflowers are tolerant of drought conditions. However, if your area goes through an extended hot and dry spell, give the plant roughly 1 inch of water per week.
Plan to divide the plants every two to three years to keep the plants healthy and full of blooms.