10 Best Companion Plants for Coneflowers

Whether you’re designing a prairie or a simple, low-maintenance garden, a coneflower may be on your list of plants. Not only do these plants produce beautiful flowers, but they also thrive with little care. If you’re looking for plants to go with your Echinacea plants, check out this list of some of the best companion plants for coneflowers.

Best Companion Plants for Coneflowers

What Are Companion Plants?

Companion plants that offer benefits to their neighboring plants. These helpful plants may attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies, improve the soil structure, shade other plants from the harsh afternoon sun, or repel common pests.

It’s important to note that what may be considered a good companion for one type of plant may not be a suitable pairing for another. That’s why looking into the best companion plant for each species you grow is essential.

Tips for Choosing Companion Plants for Coneflowers

Pink coneflowers in bloom

When choosing companion plants for coneflowers, I find it helpful to think about what coneflowers need and what problems they often experience.

First, let’s look at the conditions where coneflowers thrive. Coneflowers prefer full sun and well-drained soils, and they can tolerate poor soil conditions.

That means tall plants that shade coneflower or prefer wet soils won’t be good companions for coneflowers. Instead, I like looking for plants with similar environmental requirements as coneflowers. For more, see our in-depth guide to how tall and wide coneflowers grow for reference. 

Next, we can look at some issues coneflowers face. Most types of coneflowers are susceptible to attack from various pests, including aphids and Japanese beetles. Choosing companion plants that attract natural predators of these pests can help your coneflowers plants remain healthy.

10 Best Companion Plants for Coneflowers

Now that we know what to look for in a coneflower companion plant let’s cover 10 of the top plants to consider.

1. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) are beautiful companion plants for coneflowers.

The black-eyed Susan is another perennial that loves the sun and can tolerate poor soils. And that means it’s a great companion for coneflowers.

Black-eyed Susans have similar growth habits as coneflowers, which means the two plants will complement rather than outcompete each other.

2. Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)

Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)

I like to turn to nature when looking for suitable companion plants for coneflowers. That’s because plants that coexist together in their native habitats will typically grow well together in your garden.

And since you can find bee balm and coneflowers in prairies and clearings throughout the Eastern United States, it’s not surprising these two perennial flowers make a great pair. The flowers’ differing shapes mean they appear to distinct beneficial insects, which helps both species.

3. Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)

Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.) are beautiful companion plants for coneflowers.

Also known as tickseed, coreopsis is a genus of flowering plants that can tolerate poor soils and drought. Their bright yellow or orange flowers look great paired with purple coneflowers.

And since coreopsis is as carefree as coneflower, you don’t have to worry about disturbing one plant while you care for the other.

4. Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) are beautiful companion plants for coneflowers.

Blazing star, also known as gayfeather, is a perennial plant that produces spikes covered with small pink or purple flowers. Since it’s a prairie plant like coneflower, it loves lots of sun and can tolerate poor soil.

5. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) are beautiful companion plants for coneflowers.

Yarrow is another perennial plant that can thrive in poor soils and periods of drought, making them perfect companion plants for coneflowers. It produces hundreds of tiny flowers that attract beneficial insects like parasitic wasps, hoverflies, and green lacewings.

While the adult forms of these insects often feed on pollen and/or nectar, other life stages attack pests like aphids and thrips. Planting yarrow with your coneflowers may help protect your plants against pest damage.

6. Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)

Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)

The Penstemon genus has many different species, but foxglove beardtongue is an especially great companion plant for coneflower. This species is native to prairies and forest margins in the Eastern and Southeastern United States, so it prefers similar environments as coneflowers.

7. Baptisia (Baptisia australis)

Baptisia (Baptisia australis) are beautiful companion plants for coneflowers.

Also known as blue false indigo, this perennial plant forms a strong root system, which can help break up the soil. And since this species can tolerate poor soil conditions and drought, it requires the same type of care as coneflower. These are also beautiful companion plants for coneflowers.

8. Mountain Mint

Mountain Mint

When mountain mint blooms, you’ll often see dozens of different species of bees, wasps, and flies flocking to the plant’s tiny flowers. Not only can these insects help with pollination, but many of them also parasitize small pests like aphids.

That means that planting mountain mint by your coneflowers may help keep your plants free from aphids.

9. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.)

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.) are beautiful companion plants for coneflowers.

A member of the daisy family, blanket flowers are a group of plants known for their many blooms and heat tolerance. Although the plants are perennials, they tend to only live for a few years.

However, they produce tons of flowers during these years, which means they’re a great way to add color to your garden if your coneflowers are still getting established.

10. Butterfly Weed

Butterfly Weed are beautiful companion plants for coneflowers.

With bright orange flowers and an ability to survive drought, butterfly weed makes an excellent companion plant for coneflowers. Both plants can survive without much care after they’re established, making them a good pairing for a native plant garden.

Plants to Avoid

You should avoid planting short, delicate, sun-loving plants next to coneflower. That’s because coneflowers grow quite quickly and can overtake fragile plants and shade them out.

You should also avoid placing plants that like wet soil next to drought-tolerate coneflowers. That means cardinal flower, swamp milkweed, hosta, and marsh marigold are unsuitable companion plants for coneflowers.

Wrapping Up

When choosing companion plants for your coneflowers, look for plants that prefer well-draining soils and lots of sunlight. Picking plants with deep root systems and flowers can help improve the soil and attract beneficial insects.

Further Reading:

Contributing Editor | briana@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *