Pale Purple Coneflower

Echinacea pallida

Description & Overview

Pale Purple Coneflower is a beautiful Wisconsin native perennial that will handle many soil types and moisture levels. Typically found in prairies, they are tough and can handle rocky, clay, and dry soil. Their taproot makes them drought tolerant. They are distinguishable from other coneflowers by their pale purple petals that droop down and curl inward.

Core Characteristics

Mature Height: 2-3 feet
Mature Spread: 12-18 inches
Growth Rate: Perennial
Growth Form: Perennial
Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Site Requirements: Tolerant of many soils and moisture levels
Flower: Pale purple with drooping petals
Bloom Period: June – July
Foliage: Narrow, dark green
Fall Color: N/A
Fruit Notes: Insignificant

Suggested Uses:

Pale Purple Coneflower is best used in naturalizing a prairie. It can also be used in a wildflower and butterfly gardens.

It can also be dried and looks very nice in fresh-cut flower arrangements.

Wildlife Value:

Many species feed on Pale Purple Coneflower including butterflies, honeybees, bumblebees, sweat bees, masked bees, Andrena bees, and moths. Endangered butterflies such as Monarchs, the Regal Fritillary, and Ottoe Skipper drink the nectar. Learn more about how to attract monarchs to your yard.

Other butterfly visitors include the Silvery Checkerspot, the Baltimore Checkerspot, the Variegated Fritillary, Viceroy, the Pearl Crescent, the Great Spangled Fritillary, the Regal Fritillary, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, American Lady, the Bronze Copper, Gray Hairstreak, the Orange Sulphur, Clouded Sulphur, the Checkered White, Giant Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, and Easter Black Swallowtail.

The Hummingbird Clearwing moth feeds on the flower heads. Goldfinches, sparrows, and other songbirds enjoy the seeds in fall.

Maintenance Tips:

This is an adaptable plant that establishes itself strongly in poor soils and will handle hot, tough summers. Note that in richer soils, other perennials may outcompete Pale Purple Coneflower, so be sure to space it accordingly.

Consider deadheading Pale Purple Coneflower to improve appearance. This also helps prevent it from spreading since it self-seeds easily. If you allow it to spread, you may choose to occasionally thin them out.


Pale Purple Coneflower can be infected by leaf spots and predated upon by the Japanese beetle. There are no serious, fatal issues.

Tolerant of deer browse.

Leaf Lore:

The genus name, Echinaceae, comes from ‘echinos’, which means “hedgehog” or “sea urchin”. The species name, pallida, means “pale” in reference to the shade of the petals.

Pale Purple Coneflower was once used medicinally to prevent colds, flu, and to treat urinary tract infections. The roots and whole plant are antibacterial and were used to treat wounds. Native Americans also once used it for insect stings and bites and snake bites. Many are dug for their roots and sold to companies that use them for medicinal purposes. Some states have laws restricting collection.

Companion Plants:

Pair Pale Purple Coneflower with prairie grasses such as Prairie Dropseed and Big Bluestem to limit spread. Intermingle with Leadplant, Compass Plant, Prairie Blazing Star, Wild Senna, Montrose White Calamint, and American Pasque Flower.

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