Discover one of the classic purple coneflowers—and learn why gardeners love it.
Draft an award-winning purple coneflower to earn rave reviews in your own garden. Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’, also known as ‘Magnus’ coneflower, was introduced to the market in 1985. Magnus enhances the classic beauty of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) with deeper petals hues and a flatter, daisy-like flower form.
‘Magnus’ coneflower hails from Sweden, where it was developed by a Swedish nursery owner, Magnus Nilsson. This nurseryman appreciated the strength and stamina of purple coneflower and the way it performs so reliably through the summer, but he wasn’t particularly fond of the flower petals’ downward position from the central cone. In a quest to improve purple coneflower’s shuttlecock blooms, Nilsson selected purple coneflowers with petals arranged in more of a horizontal relationship to the cone. ‘Magnus’ coneflower is the result.
This new coneflower introduction offers a deeper rose-carmine hue to the petals, which are held out from the spiny center cone. The flower has more of a daisy appearance, with the pretty petals on full display. ‘Magnus’ coneflower grows to 30 to 40 inches tall in clumps that usually reach 12 to 18 inches wide.
Flower stems extend an additional 3 to 4 feet above the leaves, but the stems are sturdy and rarely need staking. The only time ‘Magnus’ coneflower may need a stake is if soil is quite fertile and rich. In this situation, ‘Magnus’ coneflower can become floppy and benefits from hoop stakes inserted around clumps. Like purple coneflower, ‘Magnus’ doesn’t require deadheading, but doing so encourages plants to form more buds.
The long, strong flower stems on ‘Magnus’ coneflower make it a perfect addition to a cutting garden. This coneflower looks terrific planted in drifts. Plants naturalize easily, self-sowing to spread through a garden. Give ‘Magnus’ some elbow room, and you’ll have ample flowers to cut for bouquets.
Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ often stays in flower for up to six weeks, adding a long flowering window to its list of attributes. The plants boast a low-maintenance personality, needing little in the way of tending once they’re up and growing each year. Deadheading extends the bloom, but it’s not necessary. Toward the end of the growing season, stop removing spent flowers to allow some seedheads to ripen.
When seedheads become black and dry, break some apart in new areas of the garden to encourage a new crop of ‘Magnus’ to appear. Keep an eye on ripening seedheads, because birds love these seeds. Goldfinches, native sparrows and chickadees will feed directly from seedheads by balancing on flower stems, while quail will quickly gobble any seed that falls to the ground. Make sure you harvest the seed you need before birds devour it.
Breeders have developed a new purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus Superior’. This is an improved version of ‘Magnus’, which will slowly be phased out of the market. ‘Magnus Superior’ boasts a stronger petal hue, larger center cones and darker stems.