Wildlife Garden

Coneflowers, Rudbeckia, Echinacea for a Wildlife Garden


Easy to grow plants

Coneflowers are easy to grow plants, and great for a sunny spot in the garden, they will provide a vivid splash of colour and non-stop blooms from July to October.

The name Coneflower is commonly used when referring to species of garden plants such as Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Dracopis and Ratibida a name taken from the prominent cone-shaped centres of the brightly coloured flowers.

Wildlife gardens

Best planted in groups, Coneflowers like Rudbeckia and Echinacea don’t just make great boarder plants, they are also great for attracting pollinating insects like Butterflies and Bees into wildlife gardens and can be mixed with companion plants like ox-eye daisy and later flowering Michaelmas Daisy.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’

Popular varieties

Rudbeckia fulgida, Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’ Echinacea x hybrida ‘Magic Box’

To see the wide range of coneflower varieties and colours available visit Thompson & Morgan Here

Plant Information

  • Group: Asteraceae
  • Type: Perennials – Annual
  • Similar appearance to: Echinacea, Ox-eye Daisy, Michaelmas daisy.
  • Flowering: July-October
  • Position: Sun or Semi shade
  • Height: around 60-90cm
  • Larval food plant:
  • Nectar plant: Speckled Wood Butterfly, Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly , Peacock Butterfly , Gate keeper Butterfly, Red Admiral Butterfly, Moths and Bees
  • Photograph: Top 5th September 2013

Coneflower, Rudbeckia, Black-eyed Susan, Urban Butterfly Garden

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm or Black-eyed Susan is one of the most widely grown Coneflower cultivars.

Coneflowers will grow in any well drained soil, but require an open sunny position, as most varieties grow tall and bushy reaching a height of around 60 to 90cm, the flowers measure around 8 to 13cm across with a prominent cone centre resembling giant daises.

Cultivating Coneflowers

The Coneflower is a fairly low maintenance plant, although if planted in a dry area, it is well worth giving it a mulch of garden compost or manure in the Spring, this will not only feed the plant but will help the soil retain plenty of moisture. Removing the dead flowers during the Summer months will encourage more new flowers.

Growing Coneflowers from seed

Growing from seed in pots or trays Coneflowers as a general rule can be sown from February onwards. Sow the seeds on the surface of some good moist free draining compost, and cover very lightly with more compost but do not completely cover the seeds. Place in a propagator or cover pots with a clear plastic bag and place in a bright position to help germination. With a temperature of 68-82F the seeds should germinate between 10 and 21 days.

Coneflowers-Echinacea garden flowers butterflies bees pollinating insects

Coneflowers like Echinacea are great plants for pollinating insects.

© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2022

Sweet Williams in a Wildlife Garden


Easy to grow and low maintenance Sweet William is a colourful garden favourite. Often used as a border plant or as annual bedding, it can brighten up any dull patch with fabulous shades of red, pink and white. The attractive blue green leaves also make useful winter ground cover.

Wildlife Garden

Sweet Williams make great plants for a Wildlife garden, planted in full sun they will often flower from May through to August, the bright colours and sweet scented flowers are attractive to a variety of Summer Butterflies, Moths and Bees.

Planting and Growing Sweet William

Sweet William should be planted on a site with full sun and grows best if planted in fairly dry lime or chalky Soils. They are usually grown as an annual or biennial and can be planted singular or as a mass planting of mixed colours and varieties to create a striking display. They are so undemanding that they need no extra feed and will tolerate salty sea spray in coastal areas.

You actually can grow Sweet William as a short lived perennial for 2 or 3 years. Cutting back the old flower stems at the end of each year, will keep the plants strong. It is well worth remembering when cutting back, to leave on just a few of the old flower-heads for the plant to self seed itself. The new seedlings can be thinned out and grown on, to replace older flowers.

Grow from seed as an Annual

To grow Sweet William as an Annual (flower in the same year), the seeds should be planted in March and kept between 12-15 C. After germination the young seedlings can be moved to seed-trays and spaced around 10cm apart. After all frost has passed plant out doors late May-early June in their summer flowering positions.

Grow as an Biennial

It is easier to grow Sweet Williams as a Biennials, as the seed can be sown directly into the ground in a prepared seed-bed in early summer or alternatively buy plants late Summer, these can then be planted in their flowering positions in September or October. Water in until well established. The Sweet Williams will flower June or July of the coming year.

Plant Information

  • Name: Sweet William or (Dianthus barbatus)
  • Family: caryophyllaceae
  • Type: Annual, Biennial, Short lived Perennial
  • Related to: Carnation, Garden pink
  • Flowering: May-August
  • Light: Full sun
  • Height: around 15-60cm
  • Soil: well drained, lime or chalky but not acid.
  • Plant Spacing: 20-25cm standard, 10-15cm Dwarf varieties
  • Ideal plants for: Wildlife gardens, Cottage garden, Borders, Containers.
  • Nectar Plant to: Swallowtail, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Peacock
  • Photographed: 30th June 2013.
Visit and See the range of Sweet William plants and seeds here at Thompson & Morgan
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2022

Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum).


A tall and robust willdflower, Hemp Agrimony is a herbaceous perennial plant, with long narrow leaves and large clusters of small light pink or purple flowers, that appear (early Autumn) July to September.

In the Wild

Widespread across England and Wales, Hemp Agrimony is most commonly found growing in the wild in wet or damp areas of open woodland, on river banks and in ditches, it often attracts Butterflies, Moths, Bees, Hoverflies and many other insects .

In the Garden

Hemp Agrimony can make a great architectural border plant, and is a perfect addition to a wildlife garden. It will grow in most soil types, preferring moist well drained soil and will tolerate a mixture of sunshine and shade.

Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) Light pink or purple blooms

Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) clusters of small Light pink or purple flowers

A patch Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) flowering in local woodland

Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) flowering in August in open woodland


To get Hemp Agrimony in the garden this year, 1 litre pots sizes available, for more information Visit Thompson & Morgan here

Hemp Agrimony Information

  • Name: Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum)
  • Group: Asteraceae
  • Type: Perennial
  • Height: around 1.5m spread 1.0m
  • Flowering: July to September
  • Position : sun to semi-shade.
  • Butterflies regularly seen visiting this plant : Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Peacock, Large Skipper, Green- veined White, Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia).
  • Propagation: Seeds or Root division, mulch in spring
  • Cultivated Varieties : Eupatorium maculatum ‘Atropurpureum’.
  • Photographed: 25th August 2011
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2022