Plant of the Week
Latin: Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'
Even though my cold didn’t go away any faster than usual, I still like this
The purple coneflower is an herbaceous perennial that is native to Arkansas and
has gained widespread notoriety in recent years as a good garden plant and as
the hottest selling herbal supplement in the rapidly expanding field of herbal
medicine. According to herbal experts and a fairly significant body of
scientific evidence, Echinacea works as an immune system stimulant and lessens
the severity of colds and other immune system insults.
It is not recommended as a preventative treatment for colds, but should be taken
at the first sign of a cold and is said to speed the recovery time two to three
days. The roots and tops of purple coneflower are used in the herbal remedy with
much of the plant production going on in the Pacific Northwest.
Purple coneflower is a wildflower that has migrated from the wild to become a
mainstream garden perennial in just the last 25 years. As with many of our
native plants, European gardeners were the first to recognize its garden
worthiness and spearhead the widespread garden use of purple coneflower. The
cultivar Magnus was selected by one of these European nurserymen for its compact
habit of growth and flat flower head. Perennial plant growers are so enamored
with Magnus that they bestowed the title of National Perennial Plant of the Year
Magnus purple coneflower grows up to 30 inches tall and, in old plants, can
spread that wide. From late May until early July, it produces 3- to 4-inch wide
daisy-like flowers with pinkish-purple petals and a prominent black central
The plants hold the flowers well above the clean foliage, on stems that are
plenty long for cutting. If faded flowers are cut back, additional blooms will
be encouraged. But, if the seed heads are allowed to form, small seed-feeding
birds such as finches will find their way to the plants and brighten the garden
after the flowers have faded from memory.
Magnus purple coneflower is one of the five plants that were chosen as a 1999
Arkansas Select plant. The Arkansas Select plants were chosen from the group of
plants nominated by experts across the state such as nurserymen, greenhouse
producers and university and extension personnel. These plants were judged to do
well across the state, to be relatively underused in gardens and to be pest
free. All five Arkansas Select plants will be available from most Arkansas
greenhouses and nurseries this spring at the appropriate planting season.
Growing Magnus purple coneflower in the garden is easy because the plant is not
only beautiful, it is adaptable. It seems to grow about as well in full sun as
in part shade, but in shade it will be just a bit taller. Like most perennials,
it does best when given a reasonably fertile, well drained planting site, but it
is by no means finicky and will thrive in the mixed perennial border with even
the most competitive neighbors. Once established it is very drought tolerant.
Insects and diseases are not a problem of this plant.
By: Gerald Klingaman, retired
Extension News -
April 9, 1999
The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture does not maintain lists of retail outlets where these plants can be purchased. Please check your local nursery or other retail outlets to ask about the availability of these plants for your growing area.
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