Answer: Purple coneflowers are a perennial and will occasionally manage to bloom the first year from seed. Otherwise, they use the first year to become established and then begin blooming their second year. They seem to live between three and five years and bloom for all of them; they often self seed in the garden, too. I wonder if your plants are three or more years old. If so, it's natural for them to die out. If you allow the last flowers of the season to mature and drop their seeds, you should have lots of new coneflower plants next spring.
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