10 Amazing Coneflower Companion Plants [Echinacea Garden]

Because coneflowers grow two to four feet tall (60–120 cm), it’s essential to choose companion plants that won’t be overshadowed. Other flowering, sun-loving plants nearby must grow tall enough that they can thrive alongside coneflowers. With the right mix of flowers, you can attract a variety of pollinators and songbirds to your garden. If you do choose to plant ground cover among your coneflowers, it’s essential to pick varieties that are happy living in partial shade.

Two coneflowers

1. Goldenrod

Goldenrod is great at attracting pollinators for your coneflowers.

Goldenrod is a perfect choice to pair with coneflowers. The gold color they are named for pairs perfectly with classic purple coneflowers. However, I love the fact that Goldenrod attracts so many butterflies to my garden.

Plant goldenrod at the back of the garden, behind your coneflowers. Goldenrod grows slightly taller than most coneflower varieties, so placing it at the back prevents this perennial from taking over. Plus, goldenrod doesn’t need quite as much sun as coneflowers, so it can thrive even if it is slightly shaded by close proximity to a house or fence.

2. Blanket Flower

The blanket flower (Gaillardia) is an extremely low-maintenance perennial companion for coneflowers. As long as these relatively low-growing flowers are planted where they can receive plenty of sun, they’ll tolerate heat and drought without a problem. So, plant them in front of coneflowers in south-facing beds.

The benefit of companion planting coneflowers with blanket flowers is a much longer blooming season. Blanket flowers continue to blossom throughout summer. So, even when your coneflowers are finished blooming, you’ll still have a vibrant garden.

3. Lavender

Use lavender as a shield to protect your coneflowers from predators. Not only does lavender keep harmful insects away, but it also repels rabbits and other animals that may otherwise eat your echinacea before it blooms.

Select a tall lavender variety—such as Edelweiss lavender—if you want to grow your coneflower and lavender side-by-side. If you choose a lavender variety that grows three feet (90 cm) or shorter, plant it in front of your coneflowers so they both get enough sun.

4. Lupines

Lupines growing next to coneflowers.
My lupins growing next to one of my coneflowers.

Mixing lupines and coneflowers transforms your garden into a mini wildflower meadow year after year. The tall clusters of many blossoms produced by lupines are an incredible contrast to the large blooms of coneflowers. Plus, you can find lupines in a variety of colors that pair well with your coneflowers.

Lupines can be planted in among your coneflowers for a natural look, or you can grow the two varieties side-by-side. Since they reach the same heights and have similar sun and water needs, they can easily coexist even in small gardens.

5. Catmint

If you hate weeding as much as I do, you’ll want to plant ground cover among your coneflowers. Catmint (commonly called catnip) is the best choice for this job. It won’t grow nearly as tall as your flowers, but it will thrive in partial shade. Once it starts to spread, catmint will choke out weeds.

Before planting catmint in the ground, place a potted catmint plant among your coneflowers and leave it for a few days. If you find it smashed and destroyed, it probably attracted nearby cats who crushed the plant. If this is the case, you’ll either have to keep the felines away from your catmint or choose a different companion plant from this list.

6. Black-Eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susans growing as a companion plant to coneflowers.
Black-Eyed Susans make for an excellent coneflower companion plant.

Black-eyed Susans make excellent coneflower companions due to their similar sun requirements. Since these two plants naturally coexist in the same regions, they’re easy to cultivate side-by-side in your garden.

If you live in a humid region, or if your coneflower garden gets frequent water, black-eyed Susans are a good choice. These annual flowers thrive with a little extra water. So, they’ll soak up the excess moisture and prevent your coneflowers from rotting.

7. Bee Balm

Attract pollinating bees to your garden by planting bee balm with your coneflowers. The showy blooms are also a favorite of butterflies. So, you’re bound to get all kinds of pollinators when you mix bee balm into your flower bed.

As a member of the mint family, bee balm is very easy to grow. Just spread the seeds among your coneflowers in spring, or plant a young plant in the ground, and you’ll get great results.

8. American Basket Flower

Although coneflowers and the American basket flower are both in the Aster family (Asteraceae), they look extremely different. Basket flowers have beautiful “puffball” flowers with many thin, colorful petals.

American basket flowers thrive in dry soil. So, if your coneflower bed is frequently dry, choose these flowers over other options.

9. Butterfly Weed

Butterfly weed growing near coneflowers as a companion plant.
This butterfly weed brings a ton of pollinators to the coneflowers nearby.

As the name implies, butterfly weed attracts butterflies to your garden. Even better, butterflies love this plant so much that they’ll probably lay their eggs there rather than on your coneflowers. So, think of butterfly weed as a sacrificial plant that protects your coneflowers from being devoured by caterpillars.

Even if it is host to plenty of caterpillars, butterfly weed still produces gorgeous orange blooms. To get the most flowers possible, give them plenty of sun. Plant butterfly weed in sunny spots to the side of your coneflowers.

10. Beardtongue (Penstemon)

A beardtongue and coneflower growing as companion plants next to each other.
I planted this young beardtongue next to my coneflower to help bring more pollinators to the area.

Combining beard tongue and coneflowers is ideal for attracting pollinators to your garden. Beardtongue is the favorite flower of hummingbirds. So, it’s easy to see why many gardeners choose this plant.

Since both beard tongue and coneflowers thrive in sandy soil, they can be planted side-by-side. However, some varieties of beard tongue can grow up to six feet tall (2 meters). So, plant beard tongue behind or slightly away from coneflowers to prevent it from taking over.

What Should You Plant With Echinacea?

The best plants to pair with coneflowers are:

  1. Goldenrod
  2. Blanket flower
  3. Lavender
  4. Lupines
  5. Catmint
  6. Black-eyed Susan
  7. Bee balm
  8. American basket flower
  9. Butterfly weed
  10. Beardtongue

Each of these plants does best in soil conditions similar to where coneflowers thrive. Plus, they are hardy enough to hold their own when planted near tall, fast-growing coneflowers.

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