What is White Coneflower?

Misty Amber Brighton

White coneflower, sometimes called Echinacea purpurea or white swan, is a perennial plant that somewhat resembles a daisy. It has a green or brown center, which is surrounded by many white petals. The stem and leaves of this flower are dark green in color. Its fragrant blossoms can attract birds, bees, or butterflies to a backyard garden. The white coneflower may have medicinal uses.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

This plant grows to a height of two to three feet (approximately 0.6 to 1.0 m). It has long thin stems, which are typically dark green in color. The leaves of a white coneflower are also dark green, pointed on one end, and slightly jagged around the edges.

White swan has a large round center that has a rough, uneven appearance. The center is normally brown or dark green with white petals surrounding it. Petals typically point straight down, rather than upward or outward. Each individual petal is normally around 4.5 inches (11.43 cm) long. The flower normally blooms in late summer through early fall.

Plants should be spaced anywhere from 18 to 24 inches (45.72 to 60.96 cm), as seedlings do spread slightly. The plants do best when placed in full sunlight. White coneflower can thrive in soil that is slightly acidic or mildly alkaline, with an ideal soil pH between 6.1 and 7.8.

These flowers have a sweet fragrance, which can make them ideal for using in fresh flower arrangements. This same smell might also help lure bees, butterflies, and some birds to a backyard garden. White coneflower also looks nice when planted in containers, or along the edge of a flowerbed or herb garden.

Some people grow white coneflower because of its medicinal uses. Blooms from Echinacea purpurea may sometimes be dried and then taken as a supplement to enhance the immune system and ward off colds and flu. Other times, snakebite victims might use it. People choosing to eat this flower for medicinal purposes should do so with caution, as its effectiveness has not been proven by clinical studies.

White coneflower can be difficult to grow for some gardeners, while others report the plant to be very hardy. Weather conditions, the health of seedlings when purchased at a nursery, and an individual's own gardening experience can all play a role in how well the flower prospers. People who are successful at growing white swan could be rewarded with sweet-smelling blossoms that could also attract interesting insects to their backyard garden.

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