Ratibida Species, Gray-headed Coneflower, Pinnate Prairie Coneflower

Ratibida pinnata

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ratibida (ruh-TIB-ih-duh) (Info)
Species: pinnata (pin-NAY-tuh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

Menifee, California

Denver, Colorado

Havana, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Cordele, Georgia

Algonquin, Illinois

Anna, Illinois

Champaign, Illinois

Hinsdale, Illinois

Kansas, Illinois

Lincoln, Illinois

Chesterton, Indiana

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Yale, Iowa

Derby, Kansas

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Plain Dealing, Louisiana

Lowell, Michigan

Kasota, Minnesota

Wyoming, Minnesota

Young America, Minnesota

Mathiston, Mississippi

Cole Camp, Missouri

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Ballston Lake, New York

Wallkill, New York

Indian Trail, North Carolina

Pisgah Forest, North Carolina

Bismarck, North Dakota

Bowling Green, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Hamilton, Ohio

Knoxville, Tennessee

Leesburg, Virginia

Appleton, Wisconsin

Casper, Wyoming

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 29, 2016, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It makes either a good, reliable garden perennial or a good native forb for a prairie restoration. Native from Minnesota to New York and southward.


On Mar 29, 2016, Chillybean from (Zone 5a) wrote:

A very nice plant that we have on our property. These seeds escaped the borders of our first prairie planting, so didn't get mowed down the first two years during that period of establishment.

I use the common name Weary Susan. For one, it's a nice short name to say and two, it is a quick way to differentiate this plant from the Echinacea Coneflowers. I do not know that this plant can be used medicinally.

I wanted to collect seeds from this, but had no idea how so I just left them alone. Later in the season, I found a bird had started eating from this, which exposed the small gray/black seeds nicely. I am glad to know this provides food for the birds.


On Apr 29, 2009, redcamaro350ss from Statesville, NC wrote:

This plant DOES NOT like a lot of moisture. Started it from seed this year in a class at NCSU. The greenhouse workers flooded the flats continually which caused most plants to thrive but the Ratibidas have not done well at all. Moving them to a much drier place this week and hoping they will pull through.


On Dec 27, 2007, JedS from Shawnee Mission, KS wrote:

Awesome, tough, drought tolerant prairie plant that thrives in clay soil!!! Vibrant yellow flowers bloom in the middle of the hot, dry, eastern Kansas summers, and survive our winters too. I love to see American Goldfinches stand so balanced and feed on the tops of them while the plants sway in the wind.


On Jan 4, 2006, Illinois_Garden from Fox River Grove, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have several of these that I planted a two summers ago. They need absolutely no maintenance (they're native here), they enjoy nearly full sun in my garden, and they're drought tolerant. They bloom consistently from mid-July through the end of August. I have some issues with the wind beating them up quite a bit, in a natural state they're buffered by the other plants in the field, which isn't the case as border plants in my perennial garden.


On Oct 11, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Grayhead prairie coneflower is a perennial plant 3 to 5 feet tall. It is characterized by a number of lanceolate, toothed leaves in a clump. Few to numerous flower stalks arise from the clump with few leaves along the stalk.

Grayhead prairie coneflower is found in well-drained soils from moist to dry. It prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It can be found in prairies, woodland edges and savannas.

Pioneers used the dried seed heads like cedar chips to protect clothing.


On Sep 7, 2004, gardengirl57200 from Bismarck, ND (Zone 3b) wrote:

I received this plant compliments of a bird. They grow wild in the prairies here and do not transplant well, but do grow readily from seed. It looks very nice in with yarrow and Sweet William. It does self-seed but not to the extent that it becomes a pest. It tolerates the extremes of our weather very well.


On Mar 22, 2004, mrmcoy from Seattle, WA wrote:

these are great plants! very low maintenence-I grew them for years in my garden in Indiana-the finches loved the dried seed heads, and I used to love watching them bob around on the dried stems working them for the seed-self sow, and the plants are fairly long lived as individuals as well-my best plants literally grew in gravel along the edge of a driveway where they sowed themselves-once that stand became established-they were so lovely and so tough! Even though they self sow I wouldnt characterize them as invasive at all-I never had any touble with them in that regard-great meadow plant. One thing I would say is that if you are the 'perfect well manicured' garden type-they are probably not your thing-they are rangey, gangley and full of character! they also attract butterflys, which is n... read more