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Mexican Hat Coneflower – Sombrero Perennial

My local garden center does not often have plants that are too much out of the ordinary, so I was delighted to find this Mexican Hat coneflower right here for sale in Raleigh.  This interesting variety of coneflower is also called the “Red Prairie Coneflower.”

The perennial served as a dye source for Native Americans on the plains.

How to grow Mexican hat coneflower

Echinacea are a very popular cottage garden flower. They are native to the prairies of the South Eastern USA.  See general tips for growing echinacea here.

Perennial with a Sombrero look – Mexican Hat Coneflower

The flower has a branched and leafy lower part with flower heads which have drooping petals and sombrero-shaped heads.   It normally grows to about 1 1/2 feet tall, but an reach 3 ft high.

The petals range from dark red and yellow, to all red or all yellow.  The brown disk of the flower protrudes up to give it the traditional sombrero effect.    The botanical name of the plant is Ratibida columnaris.

Mexican hat plant is a perennial.  It will come back year after year once established and makes a nice clump when mature.

Sombrero cornflower plantings

This photo shows it growing at a recent visit to the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens on a recent trip.

Growing conditions:

  • The plant likes full sun and blooms in the summer
  • It is easy to grow from seed.but will not flower until the second year.
  • Divide perennials in spring when young, before they become too woody.
  • This is one plant that likes a bit of neglect, since it prefers dry soil, although good drainage is best.
  • It can grow in both sandy and loamy soil.
  • Does best in zones 3-8
  • Can be planted as a prairie plant or in roadside planting since it is drought tolerant.

Sombrero coneflower

Cheery yellow sombrero coneflowers growing in the Wellfield Botanic Gardens, in Elkhart Indiana.

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