Cone Flowers (Echinacea Purpurea) Perennial, zone 3-9, Full Sun
Cone Flowers, also known as Echinacea are a daisy like flower with a raised center. Once upon a time they only came in a shade of purple or lavender with a dark centre cone. Now you can find these early to midsummer blooming flowers in bright a colourful shades of white, green, yellow, orange, reds, pinks and multi coloured, this is from all the hybridization that has taken place. These rugged flowers need a min of 5 hours of sun a day and will grow from 1.5 to 3 feet tall. They are great for attracting butterflies, bees and the seeds found in the dried flower heads will attract songbirds to your garden.
Cone Flowers are Deer resistant, heat and drought-tolerant, but they will do much better if watered regularly. Their blooms will last for a few weeks, once the flowers have faded they should be deadheaded to keep them in bloom all summer. To promote birds to your garden you will need to keep the late flowers on the plants to mature and seed. You can wait till spring to cut back your cone flowers, leaving them standing through the winter, to feed the birds. Cutting them back in the spring will help promoted a bushier plant with a longer blooming time during the summer.
They have some wonderful medicinal benefits, the plant, flower and root of some types can be used in herbal remedies to treat various diseases such as scarlet fever, blood poisoning, diphtheria, to reduce the effects of a common cold and flu, to reduce a fever, soothing sunburns or minor skin irritations, alleviate pain. Many people take Echinacea to help build their immune systems and boost the body’s fight against infections. Like any other vitamin or drug, you should never take anything unless it is discussed with your doctor first.