Echinacea, or purple coneflower, is an outstanding perennial that thrives on neglect. These cheery, pinkish-purple flowers can grow up to 3 feet (1 m.) in height with a similar spread. They attract pollinating insects and add statuesque color to a perennial flower garden. Companion plants for Echinacea should have similar cultural requirements and can create a bed with attractive blooms for any beneficial insect. To create a lively color bed, choose Echinacea companions that offer dimension as well as tones and textures that set off these stoic beauties.
Coneflower Companion Plants
Echinacea produces a rayed flower that spans 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm.) in width. When contemplating what to plant with coneflowers, consider other flowering plants as well as foliage superstars to enhance their beauty. Another garden scheme to consider is to use all natives as companions for Echinacea. Echinacea is native to the central and eastern parts of North America. These easy bloomers are hardy to United States Department of Agriculture zones 3 to 9.
Native plants are perfect for the perennial garden. Because they are native, they are very adaptable to the existing conditions and do not require as much care as introduced species. An excellent native to pair with Echinacea is butterfly weed, or Asclepias. It has bright orange blooms and does indeed attract butterflies.
Gaillardia has all the tones of a sunset, while black-eyed susan brings cheery yellow and a similar rayed flower. Lupines come in an array of tones and are early season color, while hardy geranium creates a carpet of jewel tones and makes an excellent base plant in the bed.
Other native coneflower companion plants include:
Pollinator Attracting Companion Planting with Echinacea
If you want to bring in the bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, a flowering and fruiting garden can help and there are many brightly colored choices. A sea of jewel tones and softer pastels will draw pollinators like a magnet and improve the overall health of your landscape.
Foliage Accents for Coneflowers
Companion planting with Echinacea isn’t just about the flowers. If you are wondering what to plant with coneflowers, there are many foliage plants that will provide just the right accent amongst the blooms. Many of the new coleus cultivars are now just as happy in the sun as they are in shade.
Heuchera, or coral bells, are tough perennials with fluted leaves and numerous colors from which to choose. Smoke bush may get a little large but is an excellent foliage plant for the back of the perennial garden. Outstanding blue-green leaves or burgundy foliage offer options for contrast.
Lily turf has strappy leaves, is often variegated, and is hardy in most zones. Ornamental grasses that prefer sunny, well-drained soil are excellent Echinacea companions. Their movement and grace are perfect complements to coneflower’s bright beauty and there are numerous varieties from which to choose that often produce fascinating inflorescences to add double interest to the garden.