Why is My Coneflower Plant Dying? (And How To Revive It!)

Your coneflower plant may die due to Alternaria leaf spot or Bacterial leaf spot, in both these conditions, you’ll notice black spots on leaves. Aphid infection and Aster yellows can also kill the plant. The plant shows dying/wilting signs due to Transplant shock too.

The coneflower plant is also called Echinacea by the experts. Coneflower plants are popular perennials, rightly so. They are loved by gardeners as they are easy to grow.

Coneflower plants are heat, drought-resistant, bloom for months, and attract pollinators like bees and birds. Their cut flowers look awesome!

Life is beautiful. Suddenly one day your Coneflower plant is showing signs of disease. Your Coneflower plant shouldn’t die! It was so pretty just the day before.

Coneflower leaves turning black

Coneflower leaves turn black due to Bacterial leaf spot disease and Alternaria leaf spot disease. Black spots are seen with a lighter central part in the Alternaria leaf spot. The dark spots are surrounded by a yellow halo in Bacterial leaf spot disease.

Alternaria Leaf Spot in Coneflower plant

Dark brown to black spots develop on the leaves and enlarge. After expanding, the spots have a lighter center part.

These spots may even cover the veins. In younger leaves, the spots are seen along the midrib.

Bacterial Leaf Spot

Bacterial leaf spot is caused by bacteria as the name implies. Signs of this disease are slightly different from that of Alternaria leaf spot disease.

Dark brown or Black spots appear in this disease too. This spot is often surrounded by a yellow halo. These spots do no spread on the veins, thus their spread is restricted.

To Prevent Leaf Spot Diseases

  • A healthy plant fights all diseases strongly. That’s why try to keep your Coneflower plant as healthy as possible.
  • Do not water the leaves, you’ll spread the disease.
  • Water your Coneflower plant when the weather is dry.

Treating Leaf Spot Diseases

  • Prune infected leaves with pruning shears and dispose of them carefully. Clean the pruning shears and other equipment with rubbing alcohol before and after the pruning session.
  • Fungicides do not get rid of the fungus, they just protect the unaffected plant parts.

Why is my Coneflower wilting?

Coneflower plant may wilt when it’s too warm. Don’t worry they’ll perk up in the evening. If it doesn’t happen then something’s wrong.

Too much/too little water

It is a drought-resistant plant. That doesn’t mean you need not water the plant at all. Water the plant when required.

Water when the top 2 inches of the soil dries out. Check the soil with your fingers. Watering your plant too often leads to root rot, as a result, the plant can’t absorb water/nutrients.

Let the soil dry out before watering again.

Common Stem Borer

A common stem borer is a pest that eats the stem of the infected plant. It also eats leaf whorls, which causes wilting of the foliage.

If the plant is infected you can find these pests if you cut the infected stem. If the infection is severe just get rid of the plant and the soil. Start afresh.

Echinacea wilting after transplant

Echinacea plant wilts after transplant if you damage the roots while the transplant. Do not let the gardening tools damage the roots of your Echinacea.

The same situation is seen when the roots become rotten. Basically, wilting is seen when the roots can’t absorb water.

Tip: Do not transplant Echinacea when it’s too warm!

Why are my Coneflower leaves curling?

Coneflower leaves curl due to Aphid infection and Aster Yellows. Though they both show leaf curling, other symptoms vary. 

Aphid infection

Aphids are tiny insects that suck plant juices from various plant parts. They are usually harmless unless the infestation is very severe.

They distort the leaves and may cause yellowing. They secrete honeydew which attracts fungi like sooty mold. The plant will look ugly.

To treat: Apply insecticidal soaps once a week. You can get rid of aphids if you spray the plant three times.

Aster Yellows

Aster Yellows disease is caused by bacteria like Phytoplasma. It is spread by leafhoppers from an infected plant to the others.


  • Leaves become curled and narrow.
  • Flowers become distorted too, this isn’t seen in aphid infections.
  • Veins remain green and the rest of the leaf yellows.

To fix:

  • Dispose of the infected plants and the soil.
  • Plant-resistant varieties of Coneflowers.
  • Keep leafhoppers away using mesh fabrics. You can also hang aluminum foil near the plant to confuse the bugs.
  • Remove weeds that may harbor these bugs.

What eats Coneflower leaves?

Rabbits and Groundhogs eat Coneflower leaves. If that’s not possible in your garden, then it’s probably slugs or Cutworms. Japanese beetles, root borers, or tent caterpillars also love to eat Echinacea foliage. Identify the culprit properly and then eliminate it.

To get rid of slugs, place a pan of beer near the plant, they get attracted to the smell of it. Throw away the beer once it collected a significant no. of slugs.

If caterpillars are the culprits, pick them off by hand and dispose of them. If the infestation of any of the above-mentioned insects is severe, spray insecticidal soap.

Why won’t my Coneflower bloom?

The coneflower plant fails to bloom when it doesn’t get adequate sunlight. Echinacea fails to blossom if you’ve divided the plant recently. The coneflower plant focuses on the production of leaves and doesn’t flower. Divide the plant in the spring season only.

Lack of Sunlight

Coneflowers come from a place where there is no shade at all. It is ideal that they stay in a place with abundant sunlight.

If you live in hot areas, you can protect them with shade cloth during the hotter part of the day.

If the plant stays in shade/partial shade for extended periods, the plant gets stunted. Your Coneflower will not be able to produce any flowers.

If you want to move the plant to a brighter place, do it in the spring.

Did you divide the plant recently?

The Coneflower plant doesn’t respond well to dividing as it has a taproot. Divide the plant in spring only and do it once in three or four years.

Divide the plant only if it became too crowded. If the plant is divided, it puts all its energy into growing foliage and you’ll see no blossoms in the first year.

Soil Conditions

Coneflowers can survive in drought conditions. They do not appreciate waterlogged conditions at all. Make sure the soil has good drainage and is porous.

Will Echinacea flower the first year?

Echinacea/Coneflower plant focuses on growing its foliage in the first year. So, you won’t see many blossoms in the first year.

Why is my Coneflower not growing?

Do you think your Coneflower plant is slacking its growth? The most common reason is clay soil. If your plant is in clay soil, you may need to amend the soil a lil’ bit.

When planting/replanting Coneflower in clay soil, dig a deeper/wider hole than what’s enough. Amend the soil so that it has good drainage.

You can achieve this by adding Greensand to your clay soil. You can mix two cups of greensand into the soil around each plant.


Here are some commonly asked questions by my readers.

Do Coneflowers need a lot of water?

No, they don’t actually need a lot of water. They just need 1 inch of water per week in most places. Make sure the soil has good drainage.

They don’t like wet soil.

Coneflowers like sun or shade?

They like sunlight a lot. They don’t thrive well in shade/partial shade.

How often should I water coneflowers?

They can tolerate drought conditions. Water the plant regularly but let the plant dry out in between the waterings. Check the soil with fingers if needed.

They need an inch of water every week.

Happy Gardening 🙂