Echinacea tennesseensis 'Rocky Top'
Common Name: Tennessee coneflower 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Pink rays and blackish cone
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Must be grown in isolation from other species of Echinacea (several miles) in order to harvest seed that retains the genetic integrity of the endangered species. Moreover, if planted with other species or cultivars of Echinacea, it may be crowded out due to its less vigorous growth habit.

Although ‘Rocky Top’ may be originally planted from seed (it is a seed variety), it may not come true from self-seeding in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Echinacea tennesseensis, commonly known as Tennessee coneflower, is a U.S. native plant. It is only known to exist naturally on certain glades near Nashville, Tennessee, and is on the Federal Endangered Species List. A daisy-like coneflower which features slightly upturned, rose-purple petals (ray flowers) and spiny, coppery center disks with a green tinge. Long summer bloom period from June until August. Flowers grow on rigid stems up to 2.5' tall, with dark green, linear foliage. This species is very similar to E. purpurea (Missouri native), except that E. tennesseensis is somewhat less vigorous and smaller, and has shorter, more upturned ray flowers, a vertical rootstock and more narrow, linear leaves.

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 of Tennessee.

‘Rocky top’ typically grows to a compact 24-30” tall. It features daisy-like coneflowers (2-3” diameter) with well-spaced, upward-turned pink rays and black central cones. Flowers bloom from June to August with some sporadic later bloom.


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


Grow in the same manner as other coneflowers by massing in the border, meadow, naturalized area, wildflower garden or part shade area of the woodland garden.