Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener
Black Coneflower, Western Coneflower
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
Strange looking but elegant and sophisticated at the same time, the blackened purple and brown flowers of the western coneflower also have modest petal-resembling green sepals (bud leaves). A clumping herbaceous perennial native to the shortgrass prairies and montane meadows of the American West, it attracts butterflies and seed-eating songbrids. Growing from a rhizome (underground stem), it appreciates moisture and usually grows in acidic moist pockets or alongside streams.
The lance-shaped dark green leaves tend to remain on the lower parts of this perennial's stems. Most heavily in early summer, tall and sturdy stems reach skyward, topped by a purplish black cone. Around this egg-shaped disc are green sepals that resemble petals. The cone's tiny flowers open a chocolate-black with gold pollen. Sporadic reblooming can occur across the rest of summer, more so if spent flowers are cut off and used for floral arrangements, fresh or dried. The plant goes dormant once frosts occur, but lingers in the landscape for birds to eat the seeds and snows to collapse the stems. It can also become dormant when drought is severe.
Grow western coneflower in full to partial sun in a moist, acidic to mildly alkaline soil that has adequate drainage. It tolerates both drought and partial shade although flowering is lessened. Try to avoid soggy soils or those that are under shallow water, as in the fluctuating shorelines of shallow retention ponds or always wet rain basins. Use this unique perennial in the mixed cottage or English border, meadow garden or cutting garden. Selections 'Green Giant' and 'Black Beauty' are larger flowering and darker flowering, respectively.
Some nurseries erroneously market the western coneflower as a black coneflower (Echinacea).
8 - 1
3 - 8
A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Full Sun, Partial Sun
24"-36" / 61.0cm - 91.4cm
14"-20" / 35.6cm - 50.8cm
Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall
Western United States
Clay, Loam, Sand
Summer, Fall, Winter
Purple, Light Green, Chocolate, Black
Alpine, Bog Garden, Cutflower, Mixed Border, Wildflower
Preferred Commerce. All Rights Reserved.