The Q&A Archives: What Flower Is It?

Question: I planted a perennial garden last year and everything came up. However, three of the plants I planted were supposed to be Purple Coneflowers, but they are definately not! Maybe you could tell me what it is. They are about 4 feet tall, but in the shade, so they might be taller trying to reach the sun - don't know. They have huge green leaves and the tall stalk opened up and is just a round brown hard (ball like) center with little leaves on it. Ever heard of it? Or could it have been purple coneflowers and without sun became this? They are pretty ugly (no color). Please help.

Jenny Stromsdorfer

Answer: Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) could be four feet tall in a shady location. The flowers sometimes look like wiry bits surrounding the center as the petals are unfurling at the beginning. Color and flower size can be influenced by age of the individual flower, seed strain, location, weather and soil, so there could be some variation attributed to that. Extra large foliage and possibly a portion of the excess height can be attributed to lack of light as well as possibly, in extreme cases, an oversupply of nitrogen. I hope the flowers looked better as the season progressed. You might be interested to know that there are also different types of echinacea, some of which such as E. pallida would match your description; maybe you have something other than the purple coneflower? I apologize for the delay in answering your question.

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