Every gardener loves a beautiful flower garden! We pour over the spring offerings of flower and vegetable catalogs that seem to appear in the mailbox on an almost-daily basis.
Echinacea, which might be better known to some as a “coneflower”, will give you season after season of striking blooms. It is a popular North American native and it's rosy-pink blooms resemble a daisy.
These plants are easy to grow here in Colorado. They are heat and drought tolerant, they can handle our full sun, and they will tolerate low fertility. They are hardy from zones 3-9, but they do ask that you provide well-drained soil. They do not like to keep their feet wet! They produce one solitary bloom on an erect stem which is excellent in a cut or dried flower arrangement.
Not only will this beautiful, hardy flower brighten your yard, but some species (E. angustifolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida) are also prized commercially for their reported medical properties. Echinacea has been used as an immune stimulant, an anti-inflammatory, and as an aid in healing wounds.
While harvesting of the echinacea root is typically done in a commercial setting, there are classes available for the “average Joe” to learn how to harvest and process the plant at home. I took an Herbal class a year or so ago – and was amazed to learn how many wonderful properties plants (even weeds!) possess! Katie at the (check it out) Garden Fairy Apothecary in Elizabeth, Colorado teaches a wonderful class for those who want to get rid of the aspirin bottle for a more natural approach. No longer do we reach for a commercially prepared concoction with chemicals and additives if we can grow it and tincture a better alternative right at home!
You may want to consider adding echinacea to your landscape. It will return, bright and beautiful, year after year. And you just may take advantage if it's herbal properties one day!