Attract Birds and Butterflies With Coneflowers

These easy-to-grow perennials attract plenty of pollinators and add a bright pop of color to your garden.

butterfly on coneflowerCourtesy Kari Thomson
Red admiral on a coneflower

The beautiful, daisy-like flowers of coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) make it a must-have for any perennial bed.  However, coneflowers aren’t just pretty— they also attract butterflies and birds to your garden.

Coneflowers get their name from their ‘cone-shaped’ center. Like most of my favorite plants, coneflowers aren’t fussy. They aren’t particularly bothered by pests and do not require any fertilizer. All they ask for is well-drained soil, a spot in the sun and regular watering.  They are native to the United States and are easy to grow in zones 3 – 8. I have grown coneflowers in my zone 9 garden with success, as well

Coneflowers attract all types of butterflies, including fritillaries, monarchs, painted ladies and swallowtails, who feed on the sweet nectar.

Birds also enjoy coneflowers in the garden. Blue jays, cardinals and goldfinches enjoy eating the seeds from spent flowers. Don’t prune off the dead flowers.  Instead, let them stand throughout winter, where they will offer food to hungry birds. Once spring arrives, simply cut back your coneflowers to the ground.  They will soon grow back to bloom in summer. Here’s how to grow your own birdseed.

Coneflowers, are available in a variety of colors. In addition to lavender, you can find them in white, yellow, orange, red and green colors.

So, if your perennial garden has a few bare spots to fill, plant some coneflowers in your favorite color. Then enjoy the butterflies and birds that these flowers are sure to attract! Also add these butterfly host plants to attract pollinators.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.