Coneflowers are a beautiful sight on grasslands and prairies, offering a host of uses and benefits. For many, they are a welcome sight in your garden. However, coneflowers can spread on their own. In this article, we’ll explain whether coneflowers are considered invasive.
What is an Invasive Plant?
An invasive plant species is often defined as an introduced plant that can get out of control. Most invasive plants are introduced to new environments by humans, either directly or indirectly. Sadly, invasive plant species can dominate native species within an ecosystem, causing serious problems.
Every state has a list of invasive species that need to be monitored carefully. When introducing a new plant into your garden, always check whether it’s classed as an invasive species in your state.
Are Coneflowers Considered Invasive?
Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) are native to the central and eastern regions of North America. Various types of coneflowers can be found in several states. As such, coneflowers are usually not considered invasive as they are native plants.
Many invasive plants spread prolifically using underground rhizomes. This makes it challenging to limit the spread of invasive species. Coneflowers don’t spread via underground rhizomes, so they’re much easier to keep under control.
Coneflowers spread through self-seeding after they’ve finished flowering each year. However, coneflowers usually don’t spread too much and can easily be kept in check. That said, some people may not want coneflowers spreading elsewhere in their garden.
The Life Cycle of Coneflowers
Coneflowers are perennials, which means they take longer to grow than annual wildflowers. Unless sown early, coneflowers usually won’t bloom in their first year. Instead, coneflowers focus on developing good foliage and strong root systems.
In their second year, coneflowers begin producing their best blooms. Coneflowers are in bloom for approximately six to eight weeks from mid-July until October. As perennials, coneflowers will die back to the roots over winter before regrowing the following spring.
While annuals only live for one year, perennial plants like coneflowers live for at least three years. Given the right conditions and care, coneflowers will flower for several years.
How to Keep Coneflowers in Check
Although coneflowers aren’t invasive, you may still want to keep them in check. Like many perennials, coneflowers self-seed once their flowers finish in the fall. To limit the spread of coneflowers, cut off the spent flowers before they seed (for more, see our guide to cutting back coneflowers and end-of-season care).
However, letting coneflowers self-seed and leaving the empty seed heads standing during the winter benefits wildlife. Birds and other animals will eat any remaining seeds. You can cut down the seed heads in the spring, ready for the new season’s growth.
If unwanted coneflower seeds spread throughout your garden, simply remove the young seedlings that emerge during the spring.
Coneflowers are not considered to be invasive. In many regions of the United States, coneflowers are native plants. Coneflowers can self-seed during the fall but won’t get out of control. Cut off spent flower heads before they set seed or pull up unwanted seedlings in the spring.
For more, see our in-depth guide on how to grow coneflowers.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.
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