Echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower, is an adaptable and drought tolerant perennial. Benefits wildlife.
Native to North America (cultivar)
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ is a sturdy perennial with bold flowers. This popular cultivar thrives in most sunny sites due to its strong stems and deep roots. Striking summer flowers have prominent deep orange cones with large horizontal (rather than drooping) reddish-pink rays.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: Echinacea purpurea occurs in the eastern United States from New York and Pennsylvania west to Wisconsin and Iowa. The range extends south to the Florida panhandle, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
The parent species is indigenous to open woodland edges and clearings, savannas, moist to mesic blackland prairies, meadows, limestone glades and roadsides.
This cultivar originated in the nursery of Magus B. Nilsson near Paarp, Sweden and was introduced by Jelitto Seeds. Nilssson worked for more than a decade making crosses and selections of Echinacea purpurea. The plant later named ‘Magnus’ was picked for its bold colors, large flowers and wide horizontal (rather than drooping) ray florets. Nilsson supposedly disliked the drooping rays of the species which reminded him of a “shuttlecock”. So… the focus of his selection process was to rogue those with drooping rays.
Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 4-9.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ is an upright perennial with strong stems that branch from the base. Plants have fibrous roots and form small colonies from short thick rhizomes.
Stems are sturdy and pubescent with leathery oval or lance shaped leaves. The blades are deep green with scattered teeth and a short winged petiole.
Flower heads are exceptionally large averaging 3-4” wide. The ray florets are wide and more horizontal than the species. The rays surround a robust spiny cone that is a deep orange or almost bronze color.
Flowering occurs over a long period of time - from early summer until autumn. Prickly clusters of dark achenes form from the disc florets and remain into early winter.
Plants grow 2-3’ tall with 2’ spread.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: The ideal site for Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ has full sun and fertile well drained soil. Plants tolerate part sun but may be less floriferous.
This vigorous cultivar endures hot, dry sites and intense cold. Plants are pest resistant and unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.
Deadheading can extend the season of bloom but will remove the desirable seed that are savored by goldfinches.
LANDSCAPE USES: This is a good choice for a Wildlife Garden, Cut Flower Garden, Prairie or Meadow. Plants are also used as Accents or Butterfly Nectar Plants, Butterfly Host Plants or as part of a Grouping or Mass Planting. Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ has Showy Blooms and is appropriate for Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings and Perennial Borders.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try pairing Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ with Coreopsis major, Rudbeckia hirta, Liatris spicata, Schizachyrium scoparium and Andropogon gerardii.
In garden situations, other cultivars like ‘Powwow Wild Berry’ or ‘Ruby Star’ could be substituted.
TRIVIA: Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ was named as Sweden’s Perennial of the Year. In 1998 it received the award for the Perennial Plant of the year from the Perennial Plant Association. ‘Magnus’ won the 2003 Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. In 2014 the National Garden Bureau chose this cultivar as its Perennial of the Year.