Compatible, Adaptable Coneflowers

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Published on: May. 16, 2013

produce offshoots that may be divided from the parent to grow into new independent plants.

Team Players

Coneflowers are a great choice for large mass plantings and are garden compatible with a variety of our other native wildflowers, including butterfly-weed, black-eyed susans, beardtongues, and native prairie grasses. To keep native populations truly native it is a good idea to obtain seed or plants that are cultivated from the genetic pool found here, rather than from plants of other states.

Native coneflowers are an important piece in the natural environment puzzle, and they even help other species to thrive. Robber flies have been observed using coneflower heads as places to lay their eggs. As adults, regal fritillary butterflies depend upon coneflowers as a nectar source.

Listed on Missouri’s Watch List, the regal fritillary is in danger of becoming extirpated in the state. Its population status throughout North America is also in peril, due to loss in quality prairie habitat. By preserving intact prairie lands abundant with wildflowers such as Echinacea, the regal fritillary and other species have a better chance for survival.

Echinacea boast more than just pretty heads. Gardeners prize them for a long list of outstanding qualities, including their ability to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, durability as cut flowers, and appeal to native songbirds such as goldfinches that feast upon their seed heads during colder months.

Even after their summer color has faded away, their robust nature shines through during winter and adds architectural beauty to snow-adorned garden beds and borders. With all of their outstanding qualities, coneflowers are compatible with a variety of landscape designs and have a little of something for everyone.

Tried and True Missouri Native Plants

Puzzled about which native plants will work best in your yard? Find the answer in Tried and True: Missouri Native Plants for Your Yard, which showcases more than 100 plants native to Missouri. In addition to colorful photos, this guide groups plants into sections that include vines, ferns, grasses and sedges, perennials, shrubs and trees, both large and small, and makes it easy to locate plants that fill a specific need. There also are tips for getting started with native plants and a chart that suggests native plant alternatives for frequently used yard plants. With a little planning, you’ll have flowers blooming from very early spring until late fall. Perhaps more importantly, you will be creating a habitat that feeds and shelters desirable wildlife. Available for $6 from Department of Conservation Nature Shops and online at mdcnatureshop.com.

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