Echinacea paradoxa is the only Echinacea species to feature yellow flowers instead of the usual purple flowers. This North American herbaceous perennial produces large, daisy-like flowers, 4 in. across (10 cm), with narrow, drooping golden-yellow rays surrounding a conical, chocolate-brown central cone. The lovely combination of the prominent central cone and thin golden flower petals makes this Yellow Coneflower one of the most attractive prairie perennials. Aside from the subtle form and color of its elegant flowers, Echinacea paradoxa also features a dark green foliage of long, narrow leaves with linear veining. Vigorous, this Coneflower is noted for its long lasting blooms and its tolerance of almost everything!
The paradox of this plant (hence its name) is that it is a yellow Coneflower while all other Echinacea species are purple and pink.
- Extremely showy and vigorous, this fabulous herbaceous perennial blooms profusely from early summer to early fall and is a perfect choice for beds and borders, naturalized areas, meadows, prairies, wildflower gardens. It looks terrific when massed with crimson Penstemon (Beardtongue) or with blue flowering perennials such as Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage).
- Excellent as cut or dried flowers. If flower heads are not removed in the fall, the blackened cones will be visited by birds that feed on the seeds.
- Easy care, this Coneflower grows in clumps up to 3 feet tall (90 cm) on strong erect stems, and thrives in full sun. It prefers average, dry to medium, well-drained soils. Avoid overly rich or fertile soil or the plant might become leggy.
- Planted in mass, the cone-shaped flower heads provide quite an attraction to butterflies, hummingbirds and yourself!
- Drought, deer, heat, humidity and poor soil tolerant!
- Remove spent flowers and cut back the stems to encourage further blooms and reduce self-seeding. May self-seed if at least some of the seed heads are left in place.
- Propagate by seed in spring, but may need a cold spell before it will germinate. Root cuttings can be taken in late fall or early winter.
- Primarily native to Arkansas and Missouri.
Echinacea, commonly called Coneflower, has been cultivated as a hardy and showy perennial since the 1700s, both in North America and Europe. Truly an American plant, native to the central and eastern part of the country, it was used by the early native Americans to cure wounds and infections. A great prairie flower, its bright and large blossoms made a successful transition to the backyard. Traditionally purple, with ray flowers that droop downward off the central cone, Coneflowers today enjoy a rich variety of colors and flower shapes with ray florets held horizontal, single or even doubled, giving them the look of Chrysanthemum. Easily grown from seed, they thrive on neglect.