Perfect Match-Echinacea And Rudbeckia

Noticed as qualifying for the newly begun series of Perfect Matches posts recently was the combination of purple coneflower, Echinacea ssp. and black eyed susans, Rudbeckia fulgida growing in our North Carolina garden.

This is a second home for us, the main residence being in Southeast Tennessee. The gardening conditions are similar between the two, USDA Zone 7a, sloping property, acid soil. Plants go back and forth over the Smoky Mountains from one garden to the other.

There is one really major difference however between these two sites, the North Carolina garden gets almost no attention from the gardener. It is a plant it and forget it type maintenance plan there, since I am only there about once a month, at best, and don’t always have time to garden anyway. Faced with a blank slate, the decision was made to use all natives there, for those are much more dependable at growing without human interference, good or bad. So far, so good.

July 9, 2011

The colorful flowers of Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea tenneseensis ‘Rocky Top’ and Rudbeckia fulgida have been beacons of beauty since early May. Only in the ground one year, they have already filled in and seeded about, mingling with the tall Panicums that inhabit the front bed which runs along the street.

July 13, 2012

It is heartening to see how well this garden is faire-ing without me, but by contrast the garden in Tennessee, the one that gets so much tweaking and fussing over looks sadly lacking in vigor. It may be the soil differences, the amount of rainfall, the topography or it might be the all native aspect that gives the North Carolina garden the edge.

There is a lesson here, if I would be able to heed it.

Using fewer varieties of high quality natives makes for an easy care and attractive garden. That is something difficult for a serial collector of plants to swallow, but it may be the garden of my future, wherever that might be.

American Goldfinch on Echinacea purpurea

The votes have been counted, coneflowers and susans are not only a perfect match, they are perfect for a nearly no maintenance native-based garden.

More Perfect Matches:

Perfect Match-Heavy Metal and Summer Wine

Perfect Match-Crimson Queen Maple and Sunpower Hosta


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20 Responses to Perfect Match-Echinacea And Rudbeckia

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have found this to be true too Frances. These flowers are great performers with or without attention. They make a great pair too.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. It might be the soil over there in North Carolina, or the rainfall, but that garden always surprises me with how lush it is. If I can keep the crabgrass out that blows in from the neighbors’ lawns, the main weed problem, it takes care of itself just fine.

  2. Mark and Gaz says:

    I agree, that’s a great combination!

    Thanks Mark and Gaz.

  3. Layanee says:

    You are certainly satisfying the birds and the bees with this combination as well as yourself. Keeping it simple does make perfect sense in your ‘extra’ garden.

    Thanks Layanee. Keep it simple, words to live by!

  4. gail says:

    An absolutely perfect combination~it’s hard to beat natives with as much to offer as these two plus no care! xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. You were so right about the natives, thanks for showing me the way!

  5. That really is a prize winning trio with the Panicum sealing the deal!

    Thanks Michaele. The Panicums have proven to be nearly indestructible there. Three kinds were added, Northwind, Shenandoah and Heavy Metal. Northwind is so much taller than the other two, I have had to move them around, while dividing of course, to get it right. Still very much a work in progress.

  6. Barbara H. says:

    Love the goldfinch picture. You are definitely being thanked! So glad the other garden is doing so well on its own.

    Thanks Barbara. Seeing the goldfinches enjoying the Echinacea seeds makes these plantings even more special. There were many birds on them, we can see them from the front porch. It doesn’t get any better!

  7. Great combo indeed!!

    Thanks, Janet. These two are so compatible.

  8. Alison says:

    I love that photo of the three clumps of Rudbeckia, Echinacea and Panicum together, makes a great three-way combo! So simple, but very effective.

    Thanks Alison. That planting has filled out so well. The Panicums have been divided to make a good backdrop and give winter interest. Easy, peasy!

  9. Cyndia M says:

    Those have long been my favorites for the garden. If they aren’t able to survive without pampering, they aren’t wanted here. I add a chaste tree (vitex) to my favorite landscaping plants as well!

    Good choice, Cyndia M. The Vitex does very well with no care at all, too. Natives are best and easiest and the pollinators love them. All good.

  10. Rose says:

    These are two of my summer favorites! I think they’re both so beautiful, but the fact they don’t require any extra attention from me is what really puts them at the top of my favorite list.

    Glad to hear it, Rose. Plants that are plant it and forget it are just the thing for a garden with no gardener!

  11. We grow both of these in our garden but of course for us they are not native – we tend to call them prairie plants.

    Hi Green Bench, thanks for visiting. Echinacea and Rudbeckia are easy care and pollinator friendly, native or not. I am glad you have them.

  12. Frances, I am afraid the coneflowers were no match for our heat this year, they suffered. Most look pretty bad so I won’t be adding any further varieties to my garden. One winner is heliopsis Sunshine Lorraine, looks fresh and has bloomed better than ever in the heat.


    I am sorry for your hot summer, Eileen. It has beena wild and crazy year everywhere, it seems. Finding plants that will work in your own special crazy is the key. It sounds like you have found that in the Heliopsis. Good deal!

  13. I agree as i use these 2 flowers in my meadow. I love my cultivars but they can be fussy. For low maintenance and lovely gardens natives have been the way to go for me and what I am using to turn my garden over

    Hi Donna, thanks for adding in here. Your meadow sounds like a good idea for growing easy natives.

  14. Both do very well here too, and all the pollinators seem to flock to them. I have an Echinacea ‘White Swan’ that the butterflies are fighting over at the moment. Sadly though, something mowed my Rudbeckias to the ground this summer 😦 Oh well, it’s an excuse to plant some more!

    Hi CV, thanks for joining in the conversation here. I adore white swan, and have several of them in both the TN and NC gardens. They don’t seem to be quite as vigorous as the pinks, but I love their elegance. How wonderful, fighting butterflies! I am sorry about your Rudbeckias. They are a little more difficult for the TN garden. An excuse for more planting is always fun!

  15. Les says:

    If someone told me they were going to blend golden yellow and pink together as a color combo, I would say no way. However, I love this classic plant combo.

    Thanks Les. Gallery Cobra reads orange, but it has taken me four years to figure out what color goes well with it. Red fits the bill. I am on the lookout for purple to add. These dahlias have wintered over here, the Gallery series. Bishop of Llandaff also winters over and is planted behind them.

  16. Reading through all your posts and smitten by your garden and photography. Hello from Texas and kudos for doing everything right!
    Ann of

    Hi Ann, thanks and welcome. I appreciate your kind words. Striving to get it right, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing, is what gardening is all about.

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