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Pale purple coneflower is a hardy, adaptable, summer perennial that attracts a variety of pollinators. Low maintenance and stunning when in bloom, this plant could be a great addition to a butterfly, pollinator, native, or cottage garden. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region and current research.

  • Family (English) Aster
  • Family (botanic) Asteraceae
  • Planting site Residential and parks
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Dry soil, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Purple
  • Shape or form Narrow
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Wildlife Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Insect pollinators

Size and method of spreading:

Pale purple coneflower plants are approximately 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide at maturity. This is a perennial that readily self-seeds; deadheading can promote blooming and discourage self-seeding. Division may be necessary every three to four years.

Native geographic location and habitat: (include C-value if appropriate)

Within the United States, pale purple coneflower is native to select Eastern states into the Midwest. C-value: 10

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

Pale purple coneflowers are well known for their attractiveness to bees and butterflies. Goldfinches and other birds like to eat the seeds, and hummingbirds are drawn in by the plentiful nectar produced. 

Leaf description:

The leaves of pale purple coneflower occur at the base and on the lower one-third of the unbranched stems. The leaves that grow up the stem are typically alternately placed. They are long and narrow (lanceolate to oblanceolate) and covered in small hairs on each side. The edges are smooth (entire) and tend to curl upward slightly.

Flower description:

Typical of a coneflower, each flower head has delicate petals (ray flowers) and a center cone (disk flowers). There are typically between 12 to 20 ray flowers that are narrow, long, pale purple in color, and are more dramatically droopy than a regular coneflower and appear as if they are dangling from the cone of disk flowers. The dozens of disk flowers that make up the cone portion are primarily brownish red in color. 

Fruit description:

The ray flowers of pale purple cornflowers are sterile, but the disk flowers will form the small, dry, single-seeded fruit that does not open to release the seed (achene). These achenes are tan-colored and slightly elongated. 

 

Plant care:

Pale purple coneflower is quite vigorous. Avoid overwatering to maintain the health of the plant. Deadheading can help to reduce self-seeding.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Pale purple coneflower is a hardy, adaptable plant that is tolerant to deer, drought, heat, humidity, and poor soil quality. Japanese beetles could be pests for these plants. Leaf spot may affect pale purple cornflower.

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