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Gloria 01-21-2010 01:32 PM

Ratibida pinnata/yellow coneflower
5 Attachment(s)
Ratibida pinnata is a great garden plant. It is a perennial that is easy to grow from seed, comes back each year reliably, and attracts pollinators and beneficial predator insects.
I first bought just one plant of ratibida pinnata at a spring native plant sale which I think was a Wild Ones group just over the Indiana border (really close to Chicago). Now it occupies several sunny locations in the garden. It has not proven to be overly aggressive I just like yellow flowers so add it in with other medium tall plants like aster and the grasses. It will tend to lean toward the sun so if backed by a wall will need a slightly lower plant to assist an upright stance. I have used liatris with good results.Black-eyed susan also works,or the purple coneflowers.

Every year one patch gets aphids for a brief spell in spring. We never treat it just let the beneficial insects like hover flies and lady bugs feast. As the new growth toughens and the aphid cycle passes the ratibida grows and flowers as usual. Only one year did it seem to stunt the final height of the ratibida and that was a very dry season. It continued to flower and came back the following year full height.

Gloria 01-21-2010 01:40 PM

2 Attachment(s)
One more picture showing how nice the flowers look in early July right before the blooms open. At this stage native bees can be found clinging to the base of the bud going after the already flowing nectar. I have a picture of that which I will add in a bit. I think it is on my blog at picasaweb storage.
Anyone else growing yellow coneflowers?

Picture found and added.

amelanchier 01-21-2010 03:01 PM

I've decided to grow this plant for the first time this year. I direct-sowed a bunch in the wild area and then I'm winter-sowing some for the front yard. Frankly, I don't think I have enough room in the front for a big patch, but if I can put them right in the center I think it will be OK. :) Looking forward to getting more bright yellows with all the purples & pinks currently dominating the garden.

Prairiefreak 01-21-2010 08:11 PM

They tend to remain in a clump. They do seed out a bit, though.

Gloria 01-22-2010 12:31 PM

This ratibida is a nice color and will look great scattered in your wild garden. It has that tall narrow prairie flower look that moves well with prairie grass. Sways in the wind on those long stems. Sometimes the flowers look like arrowheads pointing in the direction of motion and just about to take off.
Let us know how your seeds do. It should be late April-early May for germination depending on how quickly the soil warms. I had more success with plugs from winter sowing. We get so many finches and other birds that eat the seed. Juncos scour the ground around the plants all winter and when they pass through those sparrows with the lilting call. I don't know which seeds the mourning doves eat but they are a pretty good clean up crew as well.

amelanchier 01-22-2010 07:29 PM

The seed was so cheap from Prairie Moon that I really have a ton (by which I mean several thousand). So if anyone wants some, let me know. :) I'm scattering it on some of the utility land nearby too.

jpdenk 03-28-2010 03:31 PM

It's a very attractive plant, and one of the few prairie natives that shows up on its own in the fallow farm fields around where I live. It's apparently tough but not aggressive.


amelanchier 03-28-2010 04:03 PM

Unfortunately, I recently discovered that it isn't actually native to this area! Arrived here by the railroads from the west back in the 1800s. Oh well, so be it. I'm getting winter-sow germination of this already - first of the season. Must be that hardy Minnesota stock from Prairie Moon!

TheLorax 03-28-2010 06:23 PM

Would you please explain to me why you believe this species is native to the western states?

amelanchier 03-29-2010 07:22 AM


Originally Posted by TheLorax (Post 62479)
Would you please explain to me why you believe this species is native to the western states?

I didn't mean "west" as in "the West," but "west" as in "west of here." ;)

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