Everything You Need to Know About How Big Coneflowers Grow
Coneflowers, also called Echinacea, are deeply associated with the plains of North America. These tall perennial wildflowers are often pictured swaying in the breeze with beautiful flowers on single stems. Each coneflower plant consists of a clump of these stems, creating a dramatic impact in your garden. The exact size of a coneflower depends on which species or cultivar it is. It’s essential to know the potential size of a coneflower before you start planting in your garden. In this article, we’ll run through everything you need to know about how tall and wide coneflowers typically grow.
- How Tall and Wide Do Coneflowers Grow – The Essentials
- Coneflower Basics
- How Tall and Wide Do Coneflowers Grow?
- Growth Expectations for Different Types of Coneflowers
- Echinacea purpurea – Purple coneflower
- Echinacea angustifolia – Narrow-leaf coneflower
- Echinacea atrorubens – Topeka purple coneflower
- Echinacea laevigata – Smooth purple coneflower
- Echinacea pallida – Pale purple coneflower
- Echinacea paradoxa – Yellow coneflower
- Echinacea sanguinea – Sanguine purple coneflower
- Echinacea serotina – Narrow-leaved purple coneflower
- Echinacea simulata – Wavyleaf purple coneflower
- Echinacea tennesseensis – Tennessee coneflower
- Factors Contributing to the Size of Coneflowers
- The Final Word
How Tall and Wide Do Coneflowers Grow – The Essentials
Most coneflower varieties grow between 2 and 3 feet tall and approximately 1 to 1.5 feet wide. Species such as purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) can reach heights of up to 4 or 5 feet tall. Other types may produce shorter clumps measuring between 1 and 2 feet tall and less than 1.5 feet wide.
|Growing Zones:||Hardy perennials are well-suited to USDA Zones 3 to 9, depending on the species or cultivar.|
|Exposure:||Full sun or partial shade|
|Flowering Season:||Mid to late July through until fall, depending on the exact variety.|
|Soil:||Chalky, loamy, or sandy well-draining soils. Prefers slightly acidic soil (6.5 to 7.0 pH).|
|Watering:||Rarely need watering once established, except in extreme drought.|
|Fertilizing:||Fertilize once or twice a year in spring or early summer.|
|Diseases and Pests:||Common coneflower pests included powdery mildew, stem rot, aphids, Japanese beetles, mites, whiteflies.|
|Transplanting:||Transplant coneflowers in late spring or fall after flowering has finished.|
How Tall and Wide Do Coneflowers Grow?
Most species of the Echinacea genus reach a similar size. Coneflowers usually grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall and around 1 to 1.5 feet wide. Coneflowers grow in clumps and produce relatively large flowers at the end of tall single stems, known as peduncles. They’re prized for their ornamental value and also look beautiful as a cut flower for a vase or bouquet arrangement.
The smallest coneflower varieties are Echinacea angustifolia (Narrow-leaf coneflower) and Echinacea serotina (Narrow-leaved purple coneflower). These coneflowers grow to a modest size of approximately 1 to 2 feet tall. Smaller varieties like this also form relatively narrow clumps between 0.75 and 1 foot wide.
The largest species of coneflower is Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) or Echinacea laevigata (smooth purple coneflower). The widest spread for these coneflowers is usually around 2 feet wide. Both species can easily reach between 2 and 5 feet tall.
Growth Expectations for Different Types of Coneflowers
The Echinacea genus, which is part of the daisy family (Asteraceae), contains ten recognized coneflower species and numerous stunning cultivars. Different types of coneflowers can reach different sizes and are available in a stunning range of colors. Let’s take a look at the growth expectations for the ten main species of coneflowers.
Echinacea purpurea – Purple coneflower
Purple coneflowers are the most common Echinacea species found across central and eastern North America. Echinacea purpurea also forms the basis for the vast majority of coneflower cultivars. As the most recognizable coneflower species, purple coneflowers symbolize health and healing because Native Americans used them as medicinal plants.
Purple coneflowers are one of the largest species of coneflower and grow between 2 and 5 feet tall. This variety grows in a large clump that measures approximately 1.5 to 2 feet wide. The purple flowers of Echinacea purpurea can be as wide as 5 inches.
Echinacea angustifolia – Narrow-leaf coneflower
Echinacea angustifolia, commonly known as the narrow-leaf coneflower, is one of the smallest Echinacea species in North America. Narrow-leaf coneflowers are usually found on the open plains of central regions of Canada and the United States. This species produces purple or pink blooms with central orange cones.
Narrow-leaf coneflowers form small clumps that grow between 1 and 2 feet high and approximately 0.75 to 1.5 feet wide. Due to their small size, these coneflowers work well in containers. Like other coneflowers, Echinacea angustifolia can bring a range of benefits to the garden.
Echinacea atrorubens – Topeka purple coneflower
Topeka purple coneflowers are a moderately-sized coneflower variety that grows between 1 and 3 feet tall. Clumps of Echinacea atrorubens grow between 1 and 1.5 feet wide. These coneflowers are endemic to parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Echinacea atrorubens flowers relatively early for a coneflower, with blooms emerging in late spring. Topeka coneflowers have purple or pink petals arranged around spiky reddish-orange central cones.
Echinacea laevigata – Smooth purple coneflower
Echinacea laevigata is one of the tallest and widest coneflower varieties. Also known as smooth purple coneflowers, these plants can grow between 2 and 5 feet tall. Smooth purple coneflowers form wide clumps that grow between 1.5 to 2 feet wide.
Smooth purple coneflowers grow in southeastern regions of the United States such as Georgia, Virginia, and North and South Carolina. Echinacea laevigata produces light purple or pinkish flower heads with dark purple cones.
Echinacea pallida – Pale purple coneflower
Pale purple coneflowers are fairly average coneflowers in terms of size. Echinacea pallida specimens normally grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 1.5 feet wide. These coneflowers are native to the prairies of the central United States.
Echinacea pallida is unique among coneflowers because it produces white nectar from the tiny flowers of its central orange cone. Narrow pale purple petals surround these spiky cones.
Echinacea paradoxa – Yellow coneflower
Echinacea paradoxa produces beautiful bright yellow petals that radiate out from orange-brown central cones. Yellow coneflowers are native to south-central areas of the United States, such as Arkansas and Missouri. These coneflowers grow in clumps that reach up to 2 to 3 feet tall and around 1 to 1.5 feet wide.
Echinacea sanguinea – Sanguine purple coneflower
Sanguine purple coneflowers grow up to an average size of approximately 3 feet tall and 1 to 1.5 feet wide. This variety is endemic to eastern Texas and southern areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Echinacea sanguinea has long reddish-purple petals that surround brownish-purple central cones.
Echinacea serotina – Narrow-leaved purple coneflower
Echinacea serotina is otherwise known as the narrow-leaved purple coneflower and is found in parts of Arkansas and Louisiana. Echinacea serotina looks very similar to Echinacea purpurea with purple petals surrounding central orange cones. Narrow-leaved purple coneflowers are a small variety, typically reaching 1 to 2 feet tall and 0.75 to 1.5 feet wide.
Echinacea simulata – Wavyleaf purple coneflower
Wavyleaf purple coneflowers reach a fairly average size, growing up to 2 to 3 feet tall. Echinacea simulata grows in modest clumps measuring 1 to 2 feet wide and produces pale purple flowers with reddish-purple cones. This variety is found in a relatively small region of the central-eastern United States.
Echinacea tennesseensis – Tennessee coneflower
Tennessee coneflowers are a rare Echinacea variety confined to three counties in Middle Tennessee. Echinacea tennesseensis is Tennessee’s official state wildflower and produces flower heads with brown central cones and purple-pink petals. Echinacea tennesseensis grows between 1.5 and 2 feet tall and 1 to 1.5 feet wide.
Factors Contributing to the Size of Coneflowers
There’s something impressive about seeing a coneflower reach its full height and swaying in the breeze. Nurturing your coneflowers to produce tall plants depends on a range of factors, including light and space. Thankfully, coneflowers are pretty easy to grow if you keep a few rules in mind.
Coneflowers need plenty of space for their roots underneath the soil because they have long taproots. These taproots help anchor the coneflower in loose soils and allow it to still access water even in droughts. Coneflower taproots can extend as deep as 5 to 6 feet underground, depending on the exact species.
This means that many coneflower varieties aren’t always suited to containers and should be planted directly into the soil. The type of soil also makes a considerable difference as coneflowers need loose, well-draining soils to thrive. If the soil is too dense, your coneflower will struggle to establish its roots properly, impacting its growth.
Sunlight is also a significant factor contributing to the size of a coneflower. Most coneflowers need around 6 to 8 hours of full sun each day, preferably in the morning. Direct afternoon sun can be too intense even for coneflowers, so some species require partial afternoon shade.
Getting exposed to enough sun can help coneflowers produce vibrant blooms. Once these flowers have faded, deadhead them to encourage your coneflower to continue to grow new flowers. It’s often prudent to cut back coneflowers at the end of the season as well. Give your coneflowers a small dose of fertilizer or a layer of fresh compost in spring to promote productive growth.
Although coneflowers will rarely need watering once established, water is crucial for young plants. If you’ve just planted a coneflower, water it once a week during the first year or so. This helps the plant establish a sound root system, which allows it to grow strong and tall throughout its life.
The Final Word
Coneflowers are richly symbolic, beautiful tall perennials ideal for adding height and color to your borders. Most coneflowers will grow between 2 to 3 feet tall, although some varieties can reach 4 or 5 feet high. Echinacea plants grow in clumps that range from 1 to 1.5 feet wide. Some larger species can grow in clusters measuring up to 2 feet wide.