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Top 10 Perennials for the Midwest


5
Coneflower
Echinacea in the Sun is also known as purple coneflower.
Echinacea in the Sun is also known as purple coneflower.
©iStockphoto.com/sangfoto

Coneflower has proven popular because of its full, colorful bloom. They thrive best in the sunlight, but can handle some shade if the soil is rich. In sunny conditions, it will grow well in drier soil. When first planting and establishing this flower, you will need to water it regularly but once it has grown in, the plant will stabilize itself. The only conditions to look out for are heavy clay or overly damp soils. Coneflowers normally do not survive long in these conditions.

The botanical name Echinacea purpurea comes from Greek words meaning reddish purple hedgehog. And it might remind you of that ingredient advertised on your bag of cough drops. For years, people have been using the roots of this popular perennial to boost their immune system. While it has no antibacterial uses, it should help you fend off that cold or sooth your sore throat. Of course, the reddish purple is easy enough to understand as it describes the color of a common strand of coneflower. The hedgehog reference might not be as readily understandable. If you look at one, though, you can see that it references the coneflower's half circle cone head, which looks similar to the spiky animal.