Echinacea pallida 'Hula Dancer'
Common Name: pale purple coneflower
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White tinged with pale pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Butterflies

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. An adaptable plant that is tolerant of drought, heat, humidity and poor soils. Divide clumps when they become overcrowded (about every 4 years). Plants usually rebloom without deadheading, however prompt removal of spent flowers improves general appearance. Freely self-seeds if at least some of the seed heads are left in place.

Seed of this cultivar is commercially sold.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Echinacea pallida, commonly known as pale purple coneflower, is a coarse, hairy perennial of prairies, savannahs, glades and open dry rocky woods from Nebraska to Michigan south to Georgia and Texas. It features narrow, parallel-veined, toothless, dark green leaves (4-10” long) and large, daisy-like flowers with drooping, pale pinkish-purple petals (ray flowers) and spiny, knob-like, coppery-orange center cones. Flowers appear on rigid stems to 2-3’ (less frequently to 4’) tall over a long summer bloom. This species is distinguished by (a) thin, extremely-reflexed rays which almost droop straight down and (b) very narrow, parallel-veined leaves which have no teeth. Best flower display is in late June to late July, with sporadic continued bloom into autumn.

Genus name of Echinacea comes from the Greek word echinos meaning hedgehog or sea-urchin in reference to the spiny center cone found on most flowers in the genus.

Specific epithet means pale in probable reference to the pale pinkish-purple petals.

'Hula Dancer' features narrow drooping white petals tinged with pale pink. It was introduced by Jellitto Perennial Seeds in 2006. The dead flower stems will remain erect well into the winter and, if flower heads are not removed, are often visited by goldfinches who perch on or just below the blackened cones to feed on the seeds.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Japanese beetle and leaf spot are occasional problems.

Garden Uses

Mass in the border, native plant garden, naturalized area, prairie, wildflower meadow or part shade areas of woodland garden. Good fresh cut or dried flower.