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Coneflower, Pale Purple - Echinacea pallida

Coneflower, Pale Purple - Echinacea pallida

Echinacea Pallida, Pale Purple Cone Flower, is a perennial wildflower native to Michigan and the U.P., maybe.*


Pale Purple Coneflower reaches 3 feet tall and flowers early, from June to July, with a large lavender blossom. This blooms a bit before Purple Coneflower, so including both in your garden can extend the showy purple bloom time. This echinacea is one of several that were/are used medicinally.


It prefers full to partial sun, medium to dry soil and will grow in clay, loam or sand. Pale Purple Coneflower is especially popular with bees, butterflies, and skippers. It is one of the host plants for checkerspot butterflies and also several of the prettier moths. The large, bright flowers attract hummingbirds, and the seeds are enthusiastically eaten by birds, despite having one of the pokiest seed heads I have ever seen.


Pale Coneflower likes it dry, and its deep roots make it tolerant of sand, so it is perhaps more suitable for a lot of UP sites. Purple Coneflower prefers medium to moist soil, with shallower roots that thrive with a bit of richness. Both will grow in a garden, but if you are looking to naturalize a space and take a hands-off approach after the plants are established, make sure you are selecting the right coneflower for your soil type and moisture levels.


*When we started our nursery in 2020, Michigan Flora said that Pale Purple Coneflower was native to both Michigan and the UP, while Purple Coneflower was adventive (migrated, possibly with human help) and not native to Michigan. Sometime in 2021 or 2022, they decided Purple Coneflower was native (maybe), and Pale Purple Coneflower was adventive. As of January, 2023, Purple Coneflower has two descriptions on the same page, one saying Native and the other Adventive, so apparently the debate continues. The point is, these determinations are subject to revision and interpretation. Worst-case scenario is that Pale Purple Coneflower is native to adjacent states and is naturalized in the UP.

  • Page updated April 2024

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