Coneflower - Grey Head Pinnate Prairie Coneflowers (Ratibida pinnata) Yellow Cone Flower

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Coneflower - Grey Head Pinnate Prairie Coneflowers ( Ratibida pinnata) Yellow Cone Flower


Height 3 to 5 ft

Pinnate Prairie Coneflower, also known as Gray Headed Coneflower, Gray Head Mexican Hat, Yellow Coneflower, and Prairie Coneflower, is a native perennial species in the Asteraceae family that makes a real statement when planted en masse, or in a wildflower meadow.

Plants have branched, slender, and hairy stems that bear single stunning flower heads with drooping bright yellow rays arranged around a roundish to ellipsoid shaped - upward facing - tall grey central disks that turns dark brown as the rays drop off. Lower leaves are long and divided into leaflets, while the upper leaves are smaller. Each plant produces over a dozen stalks; one or several flowers, each on its own long stalk, may top a single stem. Plant is native to the central and eastern United States and (Ontario) Canada.

NOTE: A similar species, Upright Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera), is a shorter plant; its central disc is columnar, 2-4 1/2 times as long as thick. When bruised, the central disc exudes an anise scent

  • Full Sun
  • Well draining regular soil
  • Start seeds indoors - sow 10 to 12 weeks before last frost. Sow 1/ 16 in deep and water from below. Keep at 35 to 40°F for 3 weeks, then 60 to 70°F. If no germination occurs after 3 weeks, place in fridge and chill for a week or two. Place in warm spot. Patience is required as germination is long. Transplant to outdoors after all risk of frost has passed and seedlings are strong enough to handle.
  • OR direct sow in fall in prepared bed for germination in spring. Plant 1/16 in deep and 18 in apart.
  • Germination: 25 to 50 days
  • Note: prefers drier soils - can tolerate drought. Water only during especially dry periods. Mix in about an inch of compost prior to planting and each year thereafter in early spring. If watering is necessary, avoid wetting the plants; try to only get water on the soil.
  • Cut For Bouquets: when flowers are 3/4 opened
  • Harvest: snip flower stalks after the petals die -cut as long a stem as you can and place these into a paper bag, putting it in with the spiky flower head toward the bottom of the bag. Shake when dried and store in a cool dark place.
  • Seed Count: 30