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Audubon® Gray-headed Coneflower
This plant is not available at this time through Bower & Branch. Bower & Branch provides this information for reference only. Please click here to be placed on a waiting list. See below for other selections.
A slice of the prairie in your backyard! Gray-Headed Coneflower captures the spirit of the prairie in its bold, beautiful flowers. In midsummer, its strong stems rise to five feet, topped by buttery yellow blooms. The petals surround a pale gray cone, which becomes chocolatey brown as the blossoms age. The color change is a cue to Goldfinches to come and harvest the seeds. You’ll enjoy watching the nimble birds balance on the swaying seedheads as they dig in. Gray-Headed Coneflower is easy to grow and is perfect for backyard bird habitat, meadows, native gardens, cut flower gardens, and children’s gardens.
May Benefit & Attract: cardinals & grosbeaks, wrens, sparrows, thrushes, orioles, finches, mockingbirds & thrashers, vireos
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 3-8
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Recommended by Our Growers
Gray-Headed Coneflower, also known as Yellow Coneflower, is native to much of the eastern U.S., though it is most prevalent in the Midwest. A relic of the vast, majestic prairies that once graced our country’s heartland, it now appears along roads and railroad tracks, in old fields, and in open woods. Beside being attractive to finches, Gray-Headed Coneflower is valuable to our native pollinators. Green metallic bees, leafcutter bees, cuckoo bees, and beneficial wasps, flies, skippers, and beetles visit the flowers. A lovely little orange and black butterfly called the silvery checkerspot also feeds on its foliage.
One fascinating insect that makes use of the Gray-Headed Coneflower is the wavy-lined emerald moth, which lays its eggs on the flowers. Known as the camouflaged looper in its immature state, the caterpillar, which is patterned like a pair of camo pants, disguises itself even further by actually detaching pieces of the flower and sticking them to its back! When it transforms into an adult, it becomes a beautiful lime-green moth.
How to Grow
Gray-Headed Coneflower needs full sun to avoid getting too lanky and falling over. Rich soil and excess water will also encourage flopping, so go easy on the irrigation and fertilizer. Do water well during the first summer while the plant is getting established. Gray-Headed Coneflower is otherwise simple to please. Wait until late winter or early spring to cut back plants, taking care to put the cuttings in a safe, out-of-the-way place. Native bees sometimes overwinter inside the stems and will emerge in the spring. Gray-Headed Coneflower may reseed, but not so much that it becomes a problem.
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