Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Echinacea purpurea 'Big Sky Series'

Common Name
Coneflower
CA Native
Non-native
Plant Type
Perennial
Size
2' - 3' x 1.5' - 2'
Flower Color
Pink, Orange, Yellow
Bloom Time
  • Fall
  • Summer
Leaves
Dark Green
Evergreen
Deciduous
Deer Resistant
Rarely Damaged
Wildlife Value
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects
  • Bees
  • Butterfly & Other Insect Nectar
  • Seed and Fruit for Birds
Growth Rate
Moderate
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Low Maintenance
  • Showy Flowers
Water Use
  • Low
  • Moderate
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
Exposure
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Loam
Drainage
Good Drainage
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

This is a clump-forming perennial that has large daisy-like flowers. The old fashion type of coneflowers were pinkish-purple but The 'Big Sky' series has colors that range from bright yellow to salmon-orange. A beautiful addition to the perennial border. Plant enmass with Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia), Coreopsis, Yarrow  and daylilies for an easy, lovely mid-border. They are long lasting when used in a cut flower arrangement. The cones can also be used in dried flower arrangements.

Tolerant of drought, heat and poor soil but for best results plant in rich loam in full sun with low to moderate summer water. Can tolerate some light shade but may not bloom as much. Plants usually rebloom without deadheading but will bloom more if dead flowers are removed. Divide clumps when they become overcrowded (appoximately every 4 years).This plant is an evergreen in the frost free areas of Marin, however, the old leaves should be trimmed in the spring when new growth appears.

Bees, and butterflies love this plant. If you stop deadheading in the fall, the goldfinches and chickadees will come for the seeds in the winter.

Resistant to most pests and diseases.

Master Gardener Comments

I have always grown Echinacea purpurea, which has large pinkish-purple flowers but I discovered the Big Sky series last summer and just had to have some. The colors are fantastic plus the plants are just as easy to grow as the older variety. The only thing that Echinacea can be somewhat fussy about is too much moisture. They like fairly dry soil and should never sit with their roots in wet, soggy soil.

Varietals

E. purpurea 'Summer Sky' - light orange with a rose halo flowers

E. purpurea 'Sunset' - bright orange flowers with brown center

E. purpurea 'Sunrise' - bright light yellow flowers with green center

E. purpurea 'Fragrant Angel' - horizontal white petals with big gold center

E. purpurea 'Razzmatazz'  - large double purple pom-pom flowers

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