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Audubon® Sweet Coneflower
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A sweet addition to your perennial border, cottage garden, rain garden, or backyard wildlife habitat! Sweet Coneflower will help you celebrate summer with a glorious display of Black-Eyed Susan flowers that lasts for two months. The cheery yellow blooms will please pollinators, too, including digger bees, cuckoo bees, leaf-cutter bees, and green metallic sweat bees, along with a wide assortment of butterflies, beetles, and bugs, and many beneficial wasps and flies. In fall and winter, finches, Juncos, and sparrows will appear to glean the seeds that have formed in the flowers’ dark chocolate centers.
May Benefit & Attract: Finches, juncos, and sparrows.
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: 4-8
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Sweet Coneflower gets the first part of its name from the black-brown centers of its blooms, which give off a spicy-sweet fragrance like licorice when crushed. The second part of its name refers to the shape of those dark centers, although this plant isn’t a true Coneflower (Echinacea). It belongs to a closely related genus, Rudbeckia, which is better known as Black-Eyed Susan. Sweet Coneflower inhabits low, moist meadows and streamsides all over the midwestern and eastern states. Its natural range stretches from Minnesota to Massachusetts in the North and from Texas to Alabama in the South.
Sweet Coneflower plays host to some other interesting insects. The darling silvery checkerspot butterfly sometimes lays its eggs on its foliage. Several moth species take advantage of this plant, too, including the fascinating camouflaged looper. This clever caterpillar eats the flower parts of its host plant, and literally glues bits of the petals to its body while it eats to hide itself from predators! Eventually, it transforms into a pretty jade-green moth.
How to Grow
This plant can become floppy if given too much water, fertilizer, or shade, so choose its site carefully. A moist but well-drained location in full sun will suit it best. If the stems do start to lean, you can support them unobtrusively with stakes and garden twine. Unlike some other Rudbeckias, Sweet Coneflower is truly perennial, coming back from the roots year after year. New plants may appear from self-sown seed if you leave the seedheads standing through winter. You’ll want to leave them there for the birds, in any case. Cut stems down in early spring, before new growth resumes.
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