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Piercing the sky like a lighthouse in a sea of plants and shrubs, the giant coneflower attracts eleven different species of butterflies, native bees, and beautiful birds to your garden. Guided by a beacon of yellow petals, hover flies and minute pirate bugs are drawn to this plant, as many pollinators are, and will feed on common garden pests such as thrips, aphids and whiteflies. The giant coneflower is a plant that stands tall in any garden and is worth searching for at local fall plant sales, native plant nurseries, or online plant retailers.The best part: giant coneflower is low maintenance. It thrives in clay or sandy soil and tolerates dry to medium soil moisture, drought conditions, heat and even short term flooding. Sounds like Houston weather to me! This golden giant has no serious disease problems and is resistant to pests, an impressive combo any gardener will love.Begin planting in early fall to allow the basal clump time to establish itself during the cooler months, and allow adequate spacing to accommodate the 3-4 foot spread of the mature plantsGiant coneflower thrives in full sun but tolerates part shade. Throughout the first year, only the beautiful blue green leaves will be visible. In warm climates like ours the leaves are evergreen, adding to the plant’s winter interest. At maturity, these attractive cabbage-shaped leaves may be 15” to 18” in length, earning this plant the common name: cabbage coneflower.Partial shade or dappled sun. Basically evergreen, with large leaves that make nice mounds of blue foliage. Tall yellow ray flowers dangle from brown centers during warm weather. Everything about giant coneflower is big: the leaves (up to 2 feet long) the stems (up to 7 feet high) and the flowers (2″-3″ wide). As cut flowers they may last a week or more. For those who appreciate the mental air conditioning provided by cool-colored plants, Giant Coneflower is a great go-to perennial for carefree masses in the butterfly garden. It’s native to moist open areas east of San Antonio, but despite its origin in swamps, it’s drought tolerant. Find it at specialty native plant vendorsEchinacea, commonly called Coneflower, has been cultivated as a hardy and showy perennial since the 1700s, both in North America and Europe.
This Rudbeckia species is native only to the southern states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas, but has been introduced into Missouri. It grows easily in average soils in full sun, but can be grown in partial shade and a variety of soils. Great Coneflower can also tolerate droughts and heat well. For these reasons it can be used as an accent in a variety of gardens and landscapes. This showy flower also attracts many different kinds of butterflies and pollinators while not being attractive to deer. Towards the end of the season you can leave the plant standing so Goldfinches can enjoy the seeds. Great Coneflower is also rhizomatous, so it can form colonies and spread slowly.:Giant coneflower is an attractive, herbaceous (no woody stem), perennial wildflower found in moist prairies and savannas on sandy, silty and clay soils in the Pineywoods and Post Oak Savanna. Giant coneflower naturally occurs in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. Giant coneflower can reach a height of 7 feet but typically ranges from 3 to 6 feet in height. Majestic flowering stalks ascend from the distinct silvery-blue foliage (leaves average 18 inches). Vibrant yellow ray flowers suspend from tall brown disk centers, blooming from June through September. (Source: tpwmagazine.com)