Endemic to the regions of North America, the coneflower is popular for its different shades of flowers, including red, purple, pink, white, and orange. The raised thick and puffy center is also one of its characteristic features which adds to its beauty. Once the coneflower is grown, you would be amazed to see the number of butterflies and songbirds visiting your flower garden. The flowers bloom throughout midsummer to fall, and it is relatively drought-tolerant. Also, there may be very few instances when you notice it being bothered by pests. Not only is the plant a beautiful addition to any garden, it is also popular for its medicinal properties. The coneflower's appearance mimics that of the daisy, and depending upon the kind of variety, it can grow up to be 2 - 4 feet tall.
Caring for Coneflowers
Caring for coneflower plants is not a daunting task as it is one of those flowering plants, which are low on maintenance. The site to be chosen for planting must be one which receives anything between, full sun to a light shade. The soil must be fertile and well-drained. Best time for planting it is spring. Before planting, loosen the soil to a depth of about 12 - 15 inches and add in some compost (a layer of about 2 - 4 inches). Now, the hole to be dug must be twice the diameter of the pot that the plant is in. Thereafter, place the plant in the hole and fill soil around the root. Do not forget to firm up the soil gently, and water generously.
During the first growing season, young plants have to be watered adequately, in order to help their roots to be firmly established in the ground. Although, as I mentioned, the matured plants are drought-resistant, yet they also require a weekly dose of water in order to survive. If you stay in a place where the air is dry, then watering must be done more often. To add to this, during summers, if rainfall happens to be less than 1 inch per week, the plant must be watered more than normal. Each spring, the flower must be treated with a thin layer of compost, along with a 2 inch layer of mulch.
Caring for a coneflower plant also involves dead-heading its flowers. It is advisable to deadhead the flower during spring or early summer. This encourages new growth in the mid of late summer. Spent flowers must also be gotten rid of, in order to extend the flowering period. Any dead or browning leaves must also be done away with. This would make way for the growth of fresh greenery, later in the season. It is important to know that late-season flowers must be left to mature. Their seed heads will attract birds. To have a thicker growth later in the season, you can cut your plant to about 1/3 of its growth.
Feeding your coneflower plant with a handful of all-purpose slow-acting granular fertilizers is enough for its fertilization. Take care that it does not touch the newly emerging leaves or stems. If your plant is already well established, then there is no need to use any fertilizers.
To conclude this piece with one last point, during spring or early fall, when the blooms have finished, you can consider dividing the plant. Get the plant out of the ground and cut it into half. Plant one half back into the original spot and the other half at a new location. Remember to plant them with a space of 1 - 3 feet or more, between them.