Content Detail

Purple coneflower is a native wildflower of Illinois and the Chicago region. It offers color in the middle of summer and cones full of seeds for birds during winter. This wildflower will self sow and naturalize. This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Composite, Sunflower, Aster, Daisy
  • Family (botanic) Asteraceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches), Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest midsummer, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Purple
  • Shape or form Upright
  • Growth rate Fast


Purple coneflower grows 2 to 4 feet high and 1 to 2 feet wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

C-Value: 3. Native to the Chicago region. Found in prairies, savannas, and along the edges of woodlands.

Attracts birds & butterflies: 

Several species of butterflies visit the flowers. Goldfinches eat the seeds.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

The simple leaves may be alternate or opposite and are medium green. Leaves can be up to 6 inches long, with the leaves longer on the lower part of the plant and shorter near the top.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Daisy-like, purple flowers with drooping (reflexed) petals. Flowering time is mid-summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

The dried center or ‘cone’ of the flower contains the seeds.

Plant care:

Purple coneflower is tolerant of heat and drought once established. Cut the plant back completely in spring before new growth begins.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Late season leaf spots and aster yellows are possible disease problems.


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