Why plant Audubon® Native Orange Coneflower?
One of the most popular Spirits of all time—and with good reason! Orange Coneflower is popular with flower arrangers for its long-lasting gold (they’re not actually orange) blossoms. It’s popular with new gardeners for its durability and ease of care. It’s popular with pollinators, like native bees, butterflies, Syrphid Flies, and beetles for its nourishing nectar and pollen. And it’s popular with songbirds for its seeds. Add this easygoing native to your mixed borders, foundation beds, rain garden, wildflower meadow, or cutting garden for weeks of joyful Black-Eyed Susan flowers and major wildlife appeal year after year.
A treat for pollinators, Orange Coneflower nourishes many of our hardworking native bees. Bumblebees, digger bees, mining bees, sweat bees, leaf-cutting bees, carpenter bees, and cuckoo bees all visit this plant to forage for nectar and pollen. One species of mining bee seeks out Rudbeckia plants (Brown-Eyed and Black-Eyed Susans) specifically to feed its young—Rudbeckia pollen is the only type of pollen its larvae can eat. Orange Coneflower is native to much of the eastern United States. Its range extends from Wisconsin to Massachusetts in the North and from Texas to Florida in the South.
How to use Audubon® Native Orange Coneflower in the landscape?
Orange 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.
Hardiness Zone: 3-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Orange Coneflower
Orange Coneflower is an adaptable, easy-going Spirit, but does best in a full-sun position in rich but well-drained soil. Water it regularly—about once a week if there’s no rain. The bloom period may be extended by diligent deadheading (trimming the spent flowers off). You may want to leave the end-of-season seed heads standing over the winter, both for some visual interest and for bird food. Cut all dead stems and foliage back before growth resumes in spring. Orange Coneflower loves heat and may be slow to get started in the spring.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water very slowly and very thoroughly. The water needs to reach to the bottom of the root ball and that takes time. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late year. Continue this for three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Each fall, just before winter sets in clean up the previous years foliage and compost it. Be sure your perennials are mulched well for winter protection. Two inches of an organic mulch will do the job. Consider leaving the plant debris in place through the winter and doing your clean up on the weather warms in the spring. While it doesn't make things neat and tidy, the debris provides overwintering protection for insects, their eggs and pupae including our native Viceroy butterfly.