#DYK: Using exotic plants from other regions in your landscape contributes to the decline and possible extinction of our local birds, animals, and insects. That’s why every Chicagoland garden needs Coneflowers! These native plants are critical to the health and well-being of native wildlife, providing seeds and nectar for resident animals and pollinators.

Coneflowers have raised cone-like centers and grow quickly, some reaching around 2-4 feet in height. Unlike most perennials that only bloom for about two weeks each year, they bloom from midsummer through the first frost. Coneflowers love the heat and are trouble-free once established. Ensure that your Coneflowers get at least three to six hours of sunshine each day, preferably in the morning and early afternoon.

Their genus name, Echinacea, comes from the Latin name for a hedgehog, referring to the often prickly lower stem of the plant. Their stems make them more deer and bunny-resistant than most flowering plants.

With the Illinois state butterfly, the Monarch, recently becoming a threatened species, it’s especially critical to plant Coneflowers in our landscapes. Echinacea is one of the best nectar plants for attracting a wide range of butterflies because they all find coneflowers irresistible. In addition to butterflies, Coneflowers attract other pollinators like bees and birds. Just wait until the blooming season has ended. The dead cones will attract goldfinches like magic.

Another incredible power of the Coneflower is its herbal benefits, allegedly having “immune stimulant” properties. Throughout history, the roots and herbs of the Echinacea species have treated infections and wounds and even snake bites, stings, and toothaches. Many over-the-counter dietary supplements and herbal teas contain Echinacea, and it’s frequently used at the onset of a cold and in treating viral infections and inflammation.

Coneflowers brighten midwestern gardens every summer. Stop by the nursery and check out our wide variety of vibrant colors. The pollinating garden visitors will thank you.


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